(Adds prior media reports on timing in third paragraph.)
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- China Telecom Corp., the nation’s third-largest mobile-phone company, may see its introduction of Apple Inc.’s iPhone delayed until as late as mid-2012, according to UBS AG.
The earliest the carrier would offer the iPhone would be in February or March, Wang Jinjin, a UBS analyst in Hong Kong, wrote in a report today. Wang cited “checks with value chain suppliers.” China Telecom can’t comment on talks with Apple because of a non-disclosure agreement, said Jacky Yung, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at the phone operator.
While China Telecom has never officially said it would offer the iPhone, local media reports have suggested it could happen within three months. That would make the Beijing-based operator the second in the nation to offer the iPhone with a service contract, after China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.
China Telecom may introduce the iPhone as early as the end of October, the nation’s official Xinhua news agency said Sept. 22, citing an unidentified employee at the company. The carrier is preparing service bundles and back-office systems for the iPhone in anticipation of sales in January, the Global Times newspaper, owned by the state-controlled People’s Daily, reported Sept. 19.
IPhones are also sold without service contracts at authorized retailers in China.
--Edmond Lococo. Editors: Lena Lee, Terje Langeland
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