Guangzhou Daily, 3/30/11
According to a source within Guangdong Telecom, China Telecom (NYSE: CHA; 0728.HK) has applied for Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) approval to use Over-The-Air (OTA) technology to change embedded phone numbers on the CDMA version of the iPhone 4. China Telecom currently has a set of CDMA iPhone 4 smartphones for testing compatibility with China Telecom services and applications.
Including Guangdong Telecom, there are now 7-8 provincial-level subsidiaries with OTA capabilities. However, the source claims, the technology remains confined to testing laboratories and has yet to see any large-scale deployment.
Once an agreement over introducing the iPhone 4 is reached between China Telecom and Apple, all that remains is a simple upgrade to all existing mobile phone base stations, after which the aforementioned 7-8 provincial operators will be able to deploy OTA phone number services, and users will need only input their mobile phone number and password to embed the number on a handset.
A technician at Guangdong Telecom has revealed that while there are no major barriers preventing use of embedded SIM card devices, the associated installation costs range in the millions of RMB.