China Telecom has just announced that it will sell an unlocked version of the upcoming iPhone 6.
According to a report from Sina News, phones sold through the country's third largest carrier will be compatible with all wireless networks in the country, including dual 4G, TDD LTE and FDD LTE. This is a significant improvement from earlier iPhone releases from the company. From the 4S to the 5S, iPhones sold through the carrier only accepted its own SIM cards. China Telecom SIM cards are only compatible with 3G and 2G networks. This means that unlocked iPhone 6s may provide Chinese smartphone users with a step up in terms of mobile data connection speeds since its supports 4G.
The company was said to have made the announcement through Chinese microblogging site Weibo. In its post, the company showed three different color variants for the upcoming smartphone. When it becomes available to Chinese consumers, the device will be offered in gold, silver and black. According to ZDNet, the post, which came through China Telecoms' Shanghai office, was eventually taken down after it was shared over 300 times. This implies that the update may have been sent out prematurely.
The announcement comes less than a week after Apple announced that it has made a deal with China Telecom for data storage. Apple, in an effort to please Chinese authorities who have grown increasingly worried about data security, made an agreement with the state-run carrier for storing the data of Chinese users on its servers. This is meant to prevent scrutiny from China's officials, who have expressed worries about information from its citizens being kept abroad.
The country's leaders have grown suspicious of American technology companies due to revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In leaks that he provided to journalists, the former intelligence contractor detailed how American spy agencies conducted surveillance through technology firms.
China Telecom may be banking on the upcoming release of the iPhone 6 to revive its customer numbers. According to ZDNet, the company's mobile subscribers dropped to 180 million last July. The figure represents a reduction of 200,000 from the previous month. The addition of 4G service may help the company eat into the customer base of rival China Mobile. China Mobile, the largest mobile provider in the country in terms of market capitalization, currently holds 99 percent of the 4G users in the Chinese market.