Apple clear to launch 3G/4G iPad mini and iPad in China

Apple has the all clear to launch the iPad mini and iPad 4 in China after the regulator there cleared China’s regulatory hurdles.

To date only the WiFi versions of the devices are available in China. However, the iPad remains popular, during the third quarter, Apple’s slate grabbed 71.4 percent of the country’s tablet market, according to Cnet.

The cellular versions will work on the China Telecom and China Unicom networks, according to Chinese site TechWeb. There is no mention of 4G on Apple’s site, although the devices will be able to connect to China’s 4G network, where available.

Apple is yet to reach an agreement to sell the iPhone through China Mobile – the world’s largest wireless carrier. That mobile carrier has said it will develop its own company-branded handsets, while hoping to eventually strike a deal with Apple for the iPhone.

China Mobile has 703 million customers, and its subscriber base towers over rivals China Unicom and China Telecom, which together have only 387 million mobile users. At issue is the fact that China Mobile’s 3G network uses a homegrown technology called TD-SCDMA, so the iPhone would have to be redesigned.

Apple launched the iPhone 5 in China last week and saw 2m sales in the first weekend.

3G penetration in China stands at only about 19% currently, according to Trefis.

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