Apple Moves Closer to China Telecom Contract

China’s Radio Management Office has approved Apple’s application for a CDMA2000-based iPhone, moving the company a step closer to making the smartphone available to China Telecom’s 33 million subscribers. Bloomberg reported the news on Tuesday.

China Telecom is the country’s third largest carrier. The iPhone is already available through the second largest, China Unicom, which has 36 million customers. China Mobile is the largest in not only the country but also the world, with 600 million subscribers, but it has demanded a piece of App Store sales in exchange for selling the iPhone. Apple has refused to agree to such terms, putting the talks in a stalemate.

Bloomberg noted that Apple shipped 2.2 million iPhones in China during the third quarter of 2011, up significantly from the 300,000 shipped a year earlier. Apple has also increased its retail presence in the country, which has helped stem the tide of iPhone sales through gray sales channels.