iPhone 5 release rumors: China Unicom may have the next iPhone by year’s end

Sources at China Unicom say that the company’s executives recently ended a successful negotiation with Cupertino on the upcoming iPhone.

According to Sohu IT, China Unicom Deputy General Manager Li Gang and other executives made a visit to the U.S. last month.

The negotiation session established that the next iPhone could be release on the carrier earlier than usual.

“Directors Li Gang and Zhou have just returned to China, China Unicom’s introduction of the iPhone 5 doesn’t have any suspense. It should come out before the end of the year,” the insiders said, according to The Next Web.

The site writes that Apple launches usually take a few months before they arrive in China.

A 2012 iPhone 5 launch in China would be a premiere as it would shorten the time between the handset is released in the US and the date it arrives in Asia.

China Unicom is the nation’s second-largest carrier and has partnered with Apple since 2009 and The Next Web reports that earlier this year Li announced that the cooperation had produced “better-than-expected results.”