Apple's iPhone could be getting a step closer to being officially offered on China's largest mobile network, after the nation's government finally issued 4G licenses to operate LTE TDD networks in the country.
China plans to bring gigabit Internet speeds to its major cities by 2020, part of its effort to expand broadband among households in the nation.
As Apple prepares to launch its iPhone 5 in China, some analysts expect the product to sell well in the country and possibly even top sales for Apple's previous iPhone models in the country.
Beijing aims to create more free Wi-Fi hotspots across major public areas in the city, including shopping centers and subway stations as part of a city government effort to promote greater Internet use among residents.
Apple believes it is just "scratching the surface" of the Chinese market, as the company's revenue from the country for the quarter ended June 25 increased by more than six times from the same period last year.
China Unicom's new smartphone line, which is set to rival Apple's iPhone and Android handsets in China, will go on sale in the country later this month, according to a company spokesman.
Future versions of Apple's iPhone will support China Mobile's fourth generation (4G) network, China's largest mobile carrier said, a sign that it will eventually offer the iconic device to its 600 million customers.
China is on the verge of becoming the first country in the world to have more than 900 million cell phone users, according to government statistics.
Undersea telecommunications cables in and out of Japan seem to have mostly survived the devastating earthquake that struck the country on Friday.
China Unicom announced a new smartphone and software platform Monday, Wophone, that will rival Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and China Mobile's Ophone offerings.
Telecom giants China Unicom and Telefónica have agreed to invest more in each other while raising their joint competitiveness in purchasing, roaming and service to multinationals, the Chinese carrier said in a statement.
China Unicom plans on releasing its own Linux-based smartphone at the end of the year in China, as the company confronts sluggish revenue growth and increasing competition.
Selling out in stores across China, the iPhone 4 has not only been a success for Apple, but has also given mobile provider China Unicom an edge by helping it sign up more users to its 3G next generation mobile services.
The company that owned the trademark "i-phone" in China yielded it to Apple, the Web site of China's trademark office shows, removing what could have become a legal roadblock for the similarly named iPhone there.
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