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China Telecom announces a date for iPhone 4S debut on the local market

China Telecom, the country’s third largest wireless carrier, said Tuesday that it would start selling the iPhone 4S March 9, ending China Unicom’s three-year run as the only carrier allowed to sell the device within the country.

The company will start taking pre-orders March 2, both on its official website and outlets of Suning Appliance Co., according to a statement from the company. China Telecom said that it would spend heavily on marketing the smartphone, which is likely to weigh on profits in the short term but ‘enhance its long-term sustainable growth and value creation’, reported the state agency Xinhua.

The iPhone 4S is currently available in China through resellers, Apple’s online store and China Unicom — the country’s second-biggest wireless carrier, which started offering Apple Inc.’s iPhones in China in 2009.