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.