Gov’t website to compare local, foreign phone prices

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Gov’t website to compare local, foreign phone prices

Korea’s telecom watchdog said Friday it will provide consumers with a means to compare local smartphone prices with those sold abroad on its website starting next month.

The prices of 11 premium and other popular smartphones made by Samsung Electronics, Apple and LG Electronics that are released in 17 countries will be made available at, the state-run Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said.

Handsets of smaller brands, such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Sony, which have far less of a presence in Korea, will not be included in the data, the commission said.

The move comes as local customers have been expressing criticism that smartphone makers tend to set relatively higher prices in Korea compared with other countries.

According to the KCC, Samsung Galaxy S8, as of March 16, had a price difference of maximum 330,000 won ($309).

The nations were chosen among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, such as the United States, Germany, Japan and France, as well as China, as it is one of the largest markets in the world for wireless smart devices. The comparison will be posted monthly through the governmental portal, officials said.

The Korean government has been taking steps to ease the burden of telecom-related costs on households.

Industry watchers said the price comparison could nudge manufacturers to lower smartphone prices in the country.

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