A Chinese regulatory agency on Tuesday revealed that two models of Apple's iPhone 5 have been granted approval to operate on the country's networks, suggesting that the popular smartphone will soon launch in the world's largest wireless market.
The two models, designated A1429 and A1442, were approved by the China State Radio Management agency, meaning that the handset is one steop closer to going on sale in that country, reports Chinese language news site Sina (via Unwired View).
According to Apple's iPhone webpage, the A1429 model is compatible with China Unicom's 3G network and China Mobile's GSM network, while the A1442 can operate on China Telecom's CDMA bands. China Mobile, the world's largest cellular carrier by subscribership, has yet to officially ink a deal with Apple, though talks are said to be moving forward toward an agreement. Some analysts believe an Apple partnership with the telecom could result in a doubling of sales in the country.
A definitive launch date has not yet been announced, however it is believed that Apple will release its newest iPhone by the end of the year. Hong Kong Apple Stores began selling the handset on launch day, Sept. 21, as part of its most aggressive iPhone rollout to date, which is expected to bring the device to 100 countries on 240 carriers by December.