The two carriers will reportedly offer the iPhone 5 as early as this quarter.
According to Reuters, this will narrow the gap in 3G subscribers with rival China Mobile.
While China Mobile Ltd is the top carrier in 3G user numbers, China Telecom Corp Ltd and China Unicom Ltd lead in monthly subscriber growth by percentage due to the fact that China Mobile’s 3G network cannot offer support for previous iPhone models.
However, China Mobile’s focus on 3GT expansion leads to it lagging behind its smaller rivals.
“In the next three to six months, there is probably going to be an acceleration in 3G subs,” said Anand Ramachandran, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Barclays. “The subsidies will potentially impact their cost structure on a recurring basis at least over the next 12-18 months.”
Due to network incompatibility, China Mobile has remained the only Chinese carrier that doesn’t offer an iPhone contract.
Reports state that Apple plans to launch the iPhone 5 in China, its biggest iPhone market after the United States, in December.