Apple and China Telecom announced on Monday a deal for that carrier to carry the iPhone in China. China Telecom is the third largest carrier in China, and the company will almost double the number of customers for Apple’s iPhone in that country.
Currently, Apple offers the iPhone 4 and 4S through China Unicom. While that firm has more than 200 million customers, its 3G network claims some 43 million customers. China Telecom claims another 38.7 million 3G customers, according to Bloomberg.
“iPhone 4S has been an incredible hit with customers around the world,” Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, told Bloomberg. “[We] can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers in China.”
China Mobile is the world’s largest wireless carrier, but current iPhone models aren’t compatible with that company’s network, which uses a specialized version of CDMA for its 3G data. China Mobile and Apple had been rumored to be close to a deal in 2011, but it will take a future version of the iPhone to work with that company’s network.
China has been a fast growing market for Apple. Chinese demand for the iPhone 4S was so strong, a riot broke out when supplies weren’t enough to meet demand at one of Apple’s retail stores in the country and Apple decided to limit sales of the device to its online store. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty recently said that she believes Apple will sell some 40 million iPhones in China alone during 2013.