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Apple Moves Closer to Chinese iPhone Deal (Hold the WiFi)
Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 6:08 PM - by Bryan Chaffin
Apple has applied for a network license, a regulatory step needed for entry into the Chinese cell phone market, according to Wedge Partners, a Colorado research firm via BusinessWeek. According to the firm, Apple has applied for entry into the market with an iPhone that doesn't include WiFi, which has apparently been a sticking point for ye olde controlling Chinese regime.
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which oversees the world's largest telecom market, wants the iPhone to work only on the country's cellular infrastructure, which is tightly controlled. A WiFi-enabled iPhone could make it easier for users to bypass some of those controls.
"Apple was hellbent on having the iPhone be WiFi-enabled," Wedge analyst Matt Mathison wrote. "The Chinese government has been just as adamant that it not be."
The iPhone's WiFi capability is one of its strongest selling features in most of the markets in which Apple is competing, and removing that ability will keep the iPhone on level with other smart phones in the Chinese market.
Mr. Mathison also noted that the iPhone described in the application appears to be a GSM-based device, and not a CDMA device, the technology used by China's largest telecoms, including China Mobile. That company has more than 300 million customers, roughly the population of the entire United States.
The analyst said that the application process for a network license typically takes six months for approval.
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