China Telecom could soon be able to offer the iPhone to its 33.4 million subscribers, after regulators gave the green light to specifications for a CDMA2000 version of the device.
The China Radio Management Office has approved Apple's application to launch a handset using the standard in China, Bloomberg reports. Despite the thumbs up, Apple will still need to secure a license from China’s Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center to proceed with a launch.
China Unicom, the nation's sole W-CDMA carrier, is currently the only Chinese operator to offer the iPhone on a contract.
The exclusive has been lucrative for Unicom, with the operator overwhelmed by orders for the iPhone 4 at the 2010 launch. Apple is estimated to have shipped 2.2 million iPhones in China in the September quarter of last year alone.
But Apple has been progressively moving away from the exclusive model in favor of launching across most or all major carriers in a market.