The Apple iPhone 5 has cleared government approval and is expected to make its December release in Greater China. The company was eagerly awaiting “network access” licensing before it could begin to legally sell its newest smartphone in the region. Following the announcement of its regulatory approval Apple announced China Telecom as one of its first partners. Apple however did not mention a version of the device that would work with the China Unicom system.

Earlier in the month China Telecom had confirmed that it was working with Apple and CEO Tim Cook to bring the popular mobile phone to market.

iPhone 5 Finally Coming To China


By scoring the iPhone 5 ahead of China Unicom, China Telecom could grab new subscribers just as AT&T Wireless had done in the United States during its exclusive Apple contract that started with the original iPhone in 2007.

Despite its new regulatory approval Apple still has a long way to go. Google Android devices have been approved en masse in China and Android market share continues to improve on a daily basis. According to research firm Gartner many customers abandoned their iPhone 5 wait and picked up an Android device.

Historically manufacturers will begin to sell their new devices within a few weeks of navigating China’s rigorous approval process, that would place the Apple iPhone 5 in the hands of Chinese consumers by mid-December. However, Apple has had some supply issues with its various devices over the last few months and those delays could potentially expand into the Chinese market place.

Because of China’s size the build up in supply for new devices is often massive, while Apple could start with short supply the lack of product could ultimately anger users and force their way to a Google Android device.

A sales date announcement is expected soon and price has not yet been made available for the iPhone 5.

[Image via Mashable]