The Verizon iPhone 4 isn’t just made in China — it may be used there, too, if a major telecom company has its way.
China Telecom — the number 3 cell carrier in Mainland China, and like Verizon a CDMA network — is rumored to be launching their own iPhone 4 as early as this July. The above photo, reportedly from a CT marketing manager in Guangdong, was posted earlier this week on a Chinese microblogging site. As you can see, the phone is running at full signal strength on a 3G CDMA network.
One stumbling block facing China Telecom is the lack of a SIM card in the CDMA phones, making new phones harder to program. Rumor has it that CT will allow customers to program their handsets and activate their phone number over the air, without the need to visit a store. (Verizon already allows customers to buy phones online and “burn” them remotely, so its’ not an impossible task…)
The GSM version of the i4 (offered by #2 provider China Unicom) is already a smash hit, with demand outstripping supply to the point where scalpers would hang out at stores hoping that desparate customers would pay a premium to own an iPhone. Apple is planning to open 20 additional stores in China over the next few years; add in Simplified Chinese language versions of the Apple Online Store and the iOS App Store launched last year, and it’s clear that the House of Jobs sees China as a major untapped market.