updated 10:00 am EST, Wed November 18, 2009
Korean iPhone may arrive on November 28th
The path is now clear for South Korean iPhone sales, reports note. The Korea Communications Commission has granted Apple a license to run location-based services in the country, long a major obstacle to entering the market. Korean cellphones are subject to such restrictions in order to manage privacy violations; with the iPhone, concern is mainly said to have revolved around Google Maps, and the MobileMe service Find My iPhone.
The KCC has concluded however that any infringements of privacy should be negligible, as the iPhone location technology does not distinguish one user from another. The device is expected to go on sale in South Korea almost immediately after license details are completed. Sources suggest in fact that local carrier KT, which has a deal for the iPhone, has already set a launch date of November 28th. Entry into the Korean market could have significant impact, as local manufacturers like LG and Samsung have long managed to fend off foreign competition.
Negotiations are meanwhile said to be continuing between Apple and carrier China Mobile. The latter was the first to discuss bringing the iPhone to China, but talks never made any progress, and so the device is currently being sold by China Unicom. "I think the iPhone is a very good phone for consumers and is very popular with young customers," Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou now comments, "so China Mobile has continued negotiations with Apple to introduce the iPhone on China Mobile's network."
Several problems have hindered the carrier, most notably its opposition to Apple demands for revenue sharing. The company's network is also unable to support the present 3G technology on the iPhone, and so would require Apple to release modified hardware. Wi-Fi was temporarily removed to allow Unicom sales.