Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the company’s most recent earnings call that the iPhone 5 would arrive in China before the end of this year. But on Friday, China Telecom’s chairman gave a little more information to the Wall Street Journal, and the device might even be ready for sale in the country by the end of this month.
China Telecom Chairman Wang Xiaochu said “the phone should be by early December if not sooner,” according to the WSJ. The uncertainty is due to the device winning regulatory approval in China. When it will pass inspection is still up in the air. Chairman Chang Xiaobing, of competing carrier China Unicom, wasn’t as assured his carrier would be selling the device in 2012. He told the Journal, “We hope to offer it this year, but what I say doesn’t matter.”
The iPhone 5 debuted in late September and is now available in 32 countries — the fastest and broadest roll out of an Apple product yet.
The earlier it arrives in China, the better for Apple. China is a hugely important market to Apple — huge throngs of buyers are likely to turn out, as they did for the iPhone 4S last January. Getting those China iPhone sales in before the close of the books of the current fiscal quarter is likely to offer a nice boost for overall iPhone sales for Apple to report to investors.