China Telecom has posted a message to consumers on the microblogging website Weibo to announce that it would carry Apple's upcoming iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C as soon as 20 September, indicating the new smartphones will be available to purchase within 10 days of their unveiling.
Chinese website Sina Tech first spotted the message - though it is no longer visible - and reported that China Telecom and China Unicom would be the first partner carriers to offer the new iPhones after Apple's 10 September media event. This would align with recent reports that have also claimed Apple will release its iPhones earlier than usual and by 20 September.
China Telecom allegedly also allowed consumers to pre-order the new iPhones, but - like the Weibo message - that option is no longer available on the carrier’s website. Alongside the pre-orders, China Telecom planned to dole out “high-end gift bags” as a promotional deal.
The Sina Tech report also claimed another Chinese carrier, China Mobile, will not offer the new iPhones until November. That's because TD-LTE 4G compatible versions of the iPhones still need to go through regulatory approval. China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world, thanks to more than 700 million subscribers, so it's ripe market that Apple has been anxious to tap. It's also rumoured that Apple developed the budget iPhone 5C with markets like China in mind.
Apple sent invitations to members of the media earlier this week for its 10 September event in California and Berlin. Apple is set to make its first product announcements since the World Wide Developers Conference in June. If rumours are to be believed, Apple will unveil the iPhone 5S, as a successor to the iPhone 5, and a low-cost iPhone called the iPhone 5C.