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September 29, 2009

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KT to introduce 3G phones with WiFi

SOUTH Korea's KT Corp, which is holding talks to sell Apple's iPhone in South Korea, plans to introduce 3G smartphones supporting WiFi and mobile WiMAX from Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

Although the date and other details for the iPhone's South Korean debut had yet to be set, Apple's handset would likely create its own market segment among the country's smartphone users and may help jumpstart healthy competition, KT's Chief Strategy Officer Pyo Hyun-myung said yesterday.

No foreign maker had so far achieved notable success in South Korea, home turf for the world's No. 2 and No. 3 handset makers Samsung and LG.

"The iPhone will create its own segment among those who want an intuitive user interface and mobile Web access," Pyo said.

"Importing foreign cars helped Hyundai improve, and the iPhone will do the same" (for Korean handset makers).

The country's technology ventures and content providers for mobile applications will also get a boost from iPhone, he said.

Smartphones are also set to change the way Korean mobile operators compete in the saturated home market, where 97 percent of the population has a mobile phone.

To boost mobile data use, KT is revamping its service to enable mobile calls and data services on cheaper WiFi and WiMAX networks, which could hurt its traditional 3G revenue initially, but could eventually grow into a new revenue source.



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