Recent reports that China Telecom will begin offering the iPhone by the end of the year have prompted investment firms to crunch the numbers on the deal's potential revenue opportunity, with one analyst arriving at a figure of $9 billion.
Apple had originally planned a 2011 release for an LTE-capable iPhone, but has pushed back its timeline for the device because of production constraints, according to a new report out of the Far East. Meanwhile, sources indicate that China Mobile will likely begin selling Apple's next-generation iPhone later this year.
A new survey shows that Apple is poised to capitalize on an explosion in sales of 3G smartphones in China, with the iPhone the most popular option, though lower prices could give it the lion's share of sales.
Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook revealed on Tuesday that his company's agreement with Verizon for the CDMA iPhone is non-exclusive, meaning the new handset could also appear on Sprint's CDMA network.
As T-Mobile loses its iPhone exclusivity in Germany to O2 and Vodafone, Apple has begun offering the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 unlocked without a contract to German customers, with the 16GB iPhone 4 model selling for 629 euros.
Apple is attempting to block scalpers by instituting new restrictions preventing walk-in sales of the iPhone at Apple Stores in China. Customers must first reserve an iPhone on Apple's website before visiting an Apple Retail Store to complete the purchase.
Fearing growing competition from its smaller rivals, iPhone holdout China Mobile is reaching out to Apple this month in hopes that the mobile device maker will concede to building support for Beijing's proprietary 3G standard into its next-generation handset.