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KT readies launch of iPhone after KCC decision

Nov 19,2009
Apple’s iPhone
KT plans to host a launching event on Nov. 28 for customers who preordered iPhones and begin selling the popular Apple devices here sometime next month, according to industry reports.

The company received the go-ahead yesterday to market the phones when Korea’s communications regulator gave final approval to regulations that pave the way for the launch of the iPhone here. The Korea Communications Commission agreed to allow an exception to the law that requires handsets sold here to use domestic locating technology. The regulation had been the main hurdle in the iPhone’s launch in Korea.

Despite the KCC’s approval of the exception, though, there are still limitations. “Although we approved the iPhone, including its map and compass services, we did not give approval to include the FindMyiPhone feature” that helps locate the devices if users misplace them, said Oh Sang-jin, head of the KCC’s privacy protection and ethics division.

Aside from Apple Korea and KT, local transportation company Korea Logis Co. will benefit from the decision, as it hopes to use some location technology in its trucks.

According to industry reports, KT will invite customers who preordered the smartphone through the Internet to an event in Jamsil Indoor Stadium. The company, however, would not confirm the reports and is being extremely cautious about cementing a specific date for the launch. “The final decision on the iPhone’s launch will have to come from Apple’s headquarters,” a KT official said.

The numerous delays associated with the iPhone’s launch in Korea have given the device the nickname “next month phone.”

In September, KT said that it was preparing special payment plans for the iPhone ranging from 35,000 won ($30.33) to 95,000 won per month. Customers who subscribe to the 45,000 won package can get the iPhone 3GS for around 400,000 won. KT said that it plans to sell both the 3G and 3GS models here.

Korea’s smartphone market is expected to be quite crowded by early next year. SK Telecom is looking into selling Android phones in coming months. The phones use the Android mobile operating system owned by Google. SK is in talks with Samsung and LG Electronics as well as Motorola and Sony Ericsson to launch the phones.


By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]



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