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November 19, 2009

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iPhone gets signal to sell in S. Korea

SOUTH Korea's telecommunications regulator yesterday cleared the way for the launch of Apple's iPhone amid reports the device could reach consumers late next week.

The Korea Communications Commission approved the granting of a business license to Apple to offer so-called location based services, said Oh Sang-jin, director of the commission's privacy protection and ethics division.

Location based services include functions such as maps and direction finders that are included on the iPhone. South Korean law requires firms that provide such applications to obtain government permission. The approval was the last major regulatory hurdle the company faced in bringing the iPhone to South Korea, Oh said.

The iPhone's arrival in South Korea has been keenly awaited as the market is dominated by domestic makers Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc, which are also big players in overseas market.

Local service providers KT Corp and SK Telecom Co have been in talks with California-based Apple Inc regarding the introduction of the hot-selling smartphone.

The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest mass circulation newspaper, reported yesterday that KT plans to start taking Internet orders for the iPhone today and begin sales on November 28.

A KT spokeswoman said her company had no comment on the commission's decision as well as the newspaper report. She reiterated that KT -- the country's second-largest telco -- is committed to releasing the iPhone in South Korea as soon as possible.



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