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Korean iPhone launch set to have significant impact

updated 11:00 am EST, Fri November 27, 2009

KT claims 53,000 pre-orders

Tomorrow's Korean iPhone launch may greatly affect the region's cellphone market, the Associated Press reports. Carrier KT says it has received some 53,000 advance orders, a number described as "phenomenal" by Prudential analyst Hwang Sung-jin. "The iPhone's release will definitely stiffen competition for local companies such as Samsung and LG," Sung-jin adds.

Together Samsung and LG control more than 80 percent of the Korean cellphone market, consisting of about 47 million devices. The companies have in the past benefited from government protections, such as one rule requiring phones to have software supporting a South Korean wireless platform. That barrier no longer exists, and the iPhone is considered enough of a threat that SK Telecom is cutting plan prices for the Omnia II, Samsung's flagship smartphone.

No LG prices are being altered however, and the iPhone is said to have some deficiencies next to its Korean-made rivals. Central among these is the lack of a mobile TV tuner, as watching live TV is popular with Korean cellphone owners. "That's going to be a really weak point for iPhone in the Korean market," says Shinhan Investment analyst J.D. Ha.

by MacNN Staff





  1. mugwump

    Joined: Dec 1969


    JD Ha!

    Well, why doesn't the Korean TV networks create an iPhone app to stream their shows? Sounds like a no-brainer.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Couldn't the Korean carriers just

    create an app on their own phones to stream shows if it were that easy? I'd heard that the economic slowdown really put a crunch on people watching mobile TV due to the high cost of maintaining networks.

    The Koreans will prove to be a challenge for iPhone sales likely out of loyalty to their own country's brands. I can't blame them for that. I wonder if the Samsung and LG feature phones will offer that much of a hardware advantage over the iPhone. Maybe better cameras and higher resolution displays?

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