Prices for iPhone 6 unveiled at last

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Prices for iPhone 6 unveiled at last

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Customers check out the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at KT’s launch event at Olleh Square in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. KT, which has offered iPhones since the iPhone 3GS in 2009, will begin sending the new model to customers who preordered them. [NEWS1]

The three major mobile carriers yesterday started selling Apple’s eagerly awaited iPhone 6 flagship models, starting a cutthroat pricing competition under a new law limiting subsidies.

The No. 3 player, LG U+, is selling iPhones for the first time.

The three carriers - SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ - set identical release prices for the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus, but actual costs to consumers will vary due to differing subsidies offered by the carriers.

The price of the iPhone 6 with an internal storage of 16 gigabytes was set at 789,800 won ($739.30) and iPhone 6 Plus (16 gigabytes) at 924,000 won. The larger-capacity iPhone 6 is set at 924,000 won (64 gigabytes) and 1,056,000 won (128 gigabytes).

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The subsidies offered by the trio of carriers range from 100,000 won to 255,300 won. The highest subsidies come from newcomer LG U+, offering 255,300 won if a customer chose the company’s most expensive monthly data plan, LTE Ultimate Unlimited 124.

That subsidy was narrowly followed by the second largest carrier KT’s 250,000 won for customers who signed onto to the KT Unlimited 129 plan. SKT, on the other hand, offered a more moderate 170,000 won subsidy on its LTE 100 plan.

For cheaper data plans that cost around 60,000 won monthly, KT offered a 170,000 won subsidy for the iPhone 6 (16 gigabytes) while LG U+ offered 164,650 won.

SKT again tailed behind, offering 144,000 won.

The mobile carrier also launched its Zero Club earlier this month, a promotion in which consumers can purchase the latest smartphones at the lowest prices by receiving discounts on the condition that they return the new phone after 18 months.

Under the plan, the carrier is able to skirt a subsidy limit and provide 340,000 to 380,000 won in compensation in advance in return for accepting the conditional offer.

The two larger carriers launched similar promotions. KT grants the same range of compensation, while SKT gives 340,000 won.

The latest Apple model will likely do well in Korea, partly due to the enactment of the Mobile Device Distribution Improvement Act.

The policy limits subsidies to 300,000 won, undercutting price competition by carriers. Before the law took effect, distributors of the three careers were keen to offer even more generous subsidies to win subscribers.

Hundreds of people awaited the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from the early hours of yesterday morning.

LG U+ said that approximately 800 people gather for launch events held at a handful of stores across Seoul.

The carriers didn’t reveal the number of orders made on the first day, but market analysts expect the volume to be twice as much as the iPhone 5.

The number of preorders received by the three carriers exceeded 100,000.

SKT said online reservations for the first 10,000 units of the new iPhones were filled in only one minute last week. KT said its reservations for 50,000 units started at 3 p.m. on Oct. 24 and sold out in 30 minutes.

LG U+ received more than 20,000 reservations in 20 minutes.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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