But does anyone really care? China Telecom is by far the smallest network operator for mobile phones.
China Telecom subscriber total: 94 million
China Unicom subscriber total: 170 million
China Mobile subscriber total: 650 million (more than twice America's entire population)
And even though millions of iPhones are being sold in China, many are not even being used on Apple's official partner's network China Unicom.
In October, China Mobile CEO estimated that the network had over 10 million iPhone users. And a majority of Chinese people I meet who have an iPhone continue to use it on China Mobile even though they have no access to 3G internet (China Mobile only uses TD-SCDMA for its 3G network). It seems more than half of the iPhone/China Mobile users I speak to keep using China Mobile because they don't want to switch phone numbers, which I ultimately did decided to do upon switching from Mobile to Unicom.
The point is, the China Telecom deal is just baby steps (think T-Mobile in the US). The big prize is China Unicom. I promise: when Apple officially gets the iPhone on China Mobile, you can kiss that Q1 2012 record of 37 million iPhones goodbye.