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iPhone To Enter South Korea

4:05 am on Sep 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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iPhone To Enter South Korea [informationweek.com]

South Korea said Wednesday it would be opening up its cell phone market and allowing Apple to sell its touch-screen iPhone in the country of about 48.6 million people.

The country is widely known to use regulatory means to protect its cell phone market, and this has played a strong role in homegrown Samsung and LG Electronics becoming the second- and third-largest handset makers in the world, respectively. Roughly 93% of the population has a mobile phone subscription, and these users are known for their heavy usage of mobile data and applications.

It is not clear when Apple's touch-screen device would go on sale or for which provider, but the country's second-largest cellular operator, KT, has already been in negotiations for months regarding the iPhone. It is also unclear how well the iPhone will sell in South Korea, as the market is already full of highly advanced smartphones that outpace Apple's device in terms of features.

I thought the iPhone would fall on its face in Japan. All of the advanced models on the market here put anything I saw in the US or Europe to shame. However, the incredibly attractive data plans offered by SoftBank and the breathless word-of-mouth testimonials by actual users has really turned this around for a big segment of the market in Japan.

Korea is very similar to Japan in terms of mobile technology and the culture that revolves around it. I'll be watching this story closely.