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Boost from mid-Dec. iPhone 5 predicted

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's major telecom carriers confirmed media reports yesterday that Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone 5 is “very likely” to hit the local market on Dec. 14, more than two and a half months after it rolled out in 31 other countries.

However, the Silicon Valley giant has yet to “give its consent” to related details, including the release date, carriers' contract plans and the content of press releases, the carriers added.

The three companies — Chunghwa Telecom, Far Eastone Telecommunications, and Taiwan Mobile — plan to take pre-orders one week before the release day.

The iPhone 5 is scheduled to be available at more than 100 countries by the end of the year, according to Apple.

In 2010, the three carriers threw promotional parties at midnight on the day iPhone 4 was released in Taiwan, attracting over 10,000 Apple fans to wait in line.

This year, however, senior officials from the carriers said they did not have plans to hold similar events.

Asked whether they would offer higher-priced contract plans that would allow customers to take home the device for free, the providers only said they are still discussing many plans with Apple.

Pre-orders for iPhone 4S, which was released last December in Taiwan, totaled about 400,000, according to the carriers.

However, it remains to be seen whether the new 4-inch iPhone 5 will sell better than its predecessors amid strong competition from handsets being offered by non-Apple camps such as Google, Samsung, HTC, Sony and Nokia.

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In this Sept. 21 photo, a customer reacts after purchasing Apple's new iPhone 5 smartphone at the Softbank mobile phone shop in Tokyo. Taiwan's major telecom carriers confirmed media reports yesterday that Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone 5 is “very likely” to hit the local market on Dec. 14, more than two and a half months after it rolled out in 31 other countries. (AFP)

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