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Apple clears another regulatory hurdle to bring iPhone to China Telecom

China Telecom said it hopes to offer an iPhone soon in China

Apple may be a step closer to offering its iPhone through China Telecom, after yet another Chinese regulator approved a version of the iconic smartphone built for the mobile operator's networks.

An iPhone device compatible with China Telecom's CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks received a network access license from the country's Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center this week, according to the regulator's website.

The iPhone device also received approval from another Chinese regulator recently.

Apple and China Telecom have been in negotiations for some time now about offering an iPhone device in the country. The carrier, which has 123 million mobile subscribers, has no firm timetable for when the iPhone will be offered, but negotiations have been moving smoothly, said company spokesman Xu Fei. "We hope to offer it soon," he added.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Currently, Apple's only official carrier of the iPhone in the country is China Unicom, which operates a WCDMA network (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access). The carrier started selling Apple's iPhone 4S from last Friday.

China Unicom and China Telecom together have 323 million mobile subscribers. The country's largest mobile carrier is China Mobile, which has almost 650 million customers. China Mobile is also in discussions with Apple about offering the iPhone, but no deal has been announced so far.

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