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November 23, 2009

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iPhone finally rings in S. Korea

APPLE Inc's iPhone is coming to South Korea this week, KT Corp announced yesterday, bringing the iconic communications device to one of the world's most sophisticated mobile phone markets.

The telco began accepting orders for the iPhone both online and in stores yesterday and service will start on Saturday as part of an official launch, said Alice Park, a spokeswoman for the country's second-largest mobile carrier.

The announcement ends a long wait in South Korea, which has lagged behind other countries in Asia in introducing the sleek smartphone that has grabbed headlines around the world and solidified Apple's status as a purveyor of cutting-edge consumer electronics.

The South Korean market is dominated by domestic manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc, which are also big players overseas. Speculation has focused on how South Korean consumers, known for favoring the local makers, will react to the iPhone's introduction.

Steve Park, Apple's spokesman in Seoul, confirmed KT's announcement, but declined further comment and would offer no sales projections.

The iPhone made its formal debut in China late last month via local partner China Unicom Ltd. It went on sale in Japan last year and is also available in India and Australia, as well as other countries in the region.

The iPhone's introduction was delayed by regulatory hurdles, but last Wednesday the Korea Communications Commission approved the granting of a business license to Apple to offer so-called location based services.



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