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After a string of rumors, a China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) executive has confirmed that the iPhone 5 is likely to be ready to be offered on the carrier’s network within three months of its U.S. availability. The company’s vice president Li Gang said in an interview with Sohu IT that while a deal had already been reached with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the carrier was waiting for approval from China’s information technology ministry.
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“If the approval goes smoothly, China Unicom will release the iPhone in China within three months,” the company’s vice president, Li Gang, said, according to a TheNextWeb translation. The phone is set to begin delivering to customers in the U.S. on September 21. China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) told Sohu IT that it was also likely to receive the phone around the same time as its rival.
China Unicom has seen great results since it first received the iPhone in 2009, with results particularly obvious in the operator’s 3G subscriber figures. The company recently crossed the 60-million 3G user mark, cutting the lead of the world’s largest carrier, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL). China Mobile still doesn’t offer the iPhone, largely because of technical issues related to the company’s wireless network.
Apple has vowed to be swifter in taking the new iPhone across the world than previous models of the smartphone. The company plans to make the device available in 100 countries across 240 carriers by the end of the year. The phone was launched earlier this week with a new four-inch Retina display, a faster A6 processor, and LTE connectivity.
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