Though it was clear that the iPhone 4S would go on sale at some point, ranging from 'soon' to 'imminent', banners have been preparing store customers for months.
China Unicom announced last month that they only needed permission, but the phone was ready to go.
Well, the wait is over. China Unicom was officially issued its network access permit by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Apple's latest smartphone cleared the required hurdles and has been given a three-year valid 'Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate' (RTETAC), which was required for acquiring the network access license.
All new mobile phones must be vetted and granted an access license from the Chinese state regulator.
Licensed iPhone carrier China Unicom announced its intentions to launch the iPhone 4S this month.
The network is hoping to make the iPhone available in time for Christmas, perhaps hoping to make a last minute contribution to sales this year.
China Unicom said it was ready to launch the iPhone 4S, and that it was only waiting to be granted network access permission. True to it's word, China Unicom said that preparations were already completed, and network testing had already been carried out.
An estimated 10 million 'unofficial' users are already using iPhones on China Mobile, the worlds largest carrier.
But because China Mobile is not an official Apple partner, these users have been limited to 2G data speeds. The iPhone is currently incompatible with it's TC-SCDMA 3G Network.
That these customers would settle for such low quality service when compared to other high quality phones on the market suggests that there is an existing demand for the iPhone in China.