According to China’s Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center, an Apple device with third-generation, high-speed wireless data capabilities has been issued the license needed for the company to begin sales in China.
The device, listed as “model number A1430” is compatible with the 3G standard wide band code division multiple access, or WCDMA. The language used by the regulator suggests the device is the new iPad, which has yet to launch in China. Vendors often begin selling new devices within weeks of network access licenses being granted.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. A China Unicom spokeswoman also declined to comment.
Though China is Apple’s second-largest market behind the U.S., the company has been slow to release the new iPad, which has come out in most developed and many other developing countries, like Venezuela and Malaysia.
The company has not given a reason for the slow release, but some have argued it is linked to an ongoing lawsuit between Apple and Hong Kong-based Proview International Holding Ltd. (0334.HK) and its subsidiaries over the trademark of Apple’s iconic tablet computer.
Proview Shenzhen, the mainland China subsidiary of Hong Kong-based electronics maker Proview International Holding Ltd. (0334.HK), registered a trademark years earlier for a product called IPAD that has been discontinued. It contends it still rightfully owns the China rights to the name.
Apple has argued that it purchased the rights from Proview as part of a 2009 agreement. It is appealing a decision by an earlier court that sided with the Chinese company.
China Unicom, China’s second-largest mobile operator by subscribers after China Mobile Ltd., has invested large amounts in infrastructure for 3G services. In a press briefing earlier this year the company said it expects its 3G mobile phone business to generate a profit in 2012, as the popularity of smartphones and tablet devices has lead consumers to switch to 3G service plans.