China Unicom, the country’s second largest mobile carrier and the only one with decent 3G coverage, is to start selling Apple’s iPhone 5 later this year and aims to have 100 million 3G by the end of 2012.
“The iPhone 5 is currently being tested by the authorities, and we’ll begin selling it once it has been approved,” China Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobing told a news conference.
Helped by iPhones, China Unicom has seen its number of 3G users rise steadily, reaching 66.9 million in the first nine months, representing about 30 percent of total subscribers, company data showed.
China Mobile, whose 3G technology lags its two rivals’, has been building its 4G network and conducting trials. Industry observers expect China to only start giving out 4G licenses in late 2013 and 2014.