China Telecom, China’s number three cell service provider, is apparently in negotiations with Apple to become the second carrier to offer the iPhone in the country. A deal with Apple would end China Unicom’s exclusive deal, and require Apple to build a new iPhone model that supports the CDMA cell standard in addition to the current GSM-based models.
China Unicom’s exclusive iPhone deal is said to expire in early 2011, which would open the doors for a second carrier in the country soon, according to Reuters.
The iPhone 4 is already proving popular in the country. Apple’s newest combination iPod and smartphone launched in China at the end of September to long lines, more than 200,000 pre-orders, and a quick sellout.
Apple’s iPhone currently only works on cell networks based on GSM technology, such as AT&T. The report that China Telecom is in talks with Apple will no doubt add fuel to the rumors that an CDMA-based iPhone model is in development.
Apple and China Telecom have not commented on the rumor that they are negotiating an iPhone deal.