China Telecom could soon be able to offer the iPhone to its 33.4 million, now that specifications for a CDMA2000 version of the device have been green-lit.
The China Radio Management Office have approved Apple's application to launch a handset using the standard in China, Bloombergreported.
But Apple will still need to secure a license from China’s Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center to proceed with a launch.
China Unicom, as the nation's sole W-CDMA carrier, is currently the only Chinese operator to offer the iPhone on a contract.
The exclusive has been lucrative for Unicom, with the operator being overwhelmed by orders for the iPhone 4 at the 2010 launch. Apple is estimated to have shipped 2.2 million iPhones in China in the September quarter of last year alone.
But Apple has been progressively moving away from the exclusive model in favor of launching across most or all major carriers in a market.
The vendor is also thought to be in talks over bringing the iPhone to China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator. But in November, talks reportedly stalled as a result of China Mobile seeking a share of app store revenues.