China Telecom, one of the biggest telecom operators in China, is preparing service bundles for new versions of Apple Inc’s iPhone and iPad to be launched later this year, a China Telecom official told the Global Times on Tuesday.
“China Telecom has reached an agreement with Apple on cooperation over the CDMA (code division multiple access) version of the iPhone and iPad. The initial plan is to launch both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 handsets and service bundles in October. The detailed iPad launch plan has not yet been decided,” said a China Telecom marketing official, who wished to remain anonymous.
According to the official, both the iPhone and iPad will run on China Telecom’s 3G network, CDMA 2000. China Telecom will also provide subsidies to buyers, but will give buyers more freedom to choose between buying just a handset, or a handset plus data traffic bundles, or a deposit plus cheaper handset bundles.
Currently, China Telecom is carrying out tests on iPhone handsets and services in several regions including Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.
“Also, China Telecom is doing more research on iPad 2 services. Probably the CDMA-version iPad 2 service bundles will offer China Telecom’s existing services, such as mobile reading and mobile broadcasting services,” the official said.
Wang Xiaochu, general manager of China Telecom, said in June this year that the firm aimed to gain a 200-million-user base for its CDMA 2000 3G network by the year 2014. The operator also believes that the iPhone and iPad will bring high-end users and create greater customer loyalty, according to the marketing official.
“China Telecom will face direct competition with Apple’s other partner in China, China Unicom,” the official said.
“It is not easy for China Telecom to compete with China Unicom, as the latter has been selling iPhones and services for around two years,” said Xiang Ligang, CEO of telecom information portal cctime.com.