updated 11:35 am EST, Mon November 30, 2009
Device considered 'relative bargain'
The launch of the iPhone in South Korea has so far proven a success, reports say. The number of pre-orders at carrier KT is believed to have to risen from 53,000 to approximately 65,000 by Saturday's release date, significant in a market where 400,000 smartphones were sold in the third quarter. At a special launch event in Seoul, hundreds of people are said to have lined up for as long as 26 hours in order to buy one of the country's first 1,000 iPhones.
The device is considered something of a bargain in South Korea, as dominant phone makers Samsung and LG charge almost twice as much for local versions of their smartphones as they do for their foreign ones. A 32GB iPhone 3GS in contrast costs the equivalent of $317 with a $38 per month, two-year contract, or nothing at all on a $112 per month contract.
Apple's product is nevertheless missing a common feature of Korean smartphones, a mobile TV tuner. While the iPhone can stream video over 3G and Wi-Fi, it does not include a T-DMB receiver. Some analysts suggest the lack of live TV may limit Korean sales.