iPhone in Korea – Official launch 28 November

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In light of recent news, my faithless and incessant ripping of the Korean mobile phone marketplace looks distasteful and trite, but hindsight doesn’t sober as much as the exciting/perplexing KT iPhone launch. After numerous delays, Jesus will be delivered to the hands of the pre-order faithful this Saturday, 28 November. If you are in Seoul, you can march down to the Jamsil Gymnasium, attend launch festivities, and get away with a shiny 3G or 3GS. According to The Korea Times, this event is for pre-order customers only, but have no fear, KT’s iPhone can still be ordered online through KT’s ‘handler’.

Plan pricing is available as follows (after the gap):

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iPhone in Korea – the blog and the message


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TMA has been following iPhone developments in Korea for a number of reasons: most notably because the tallest member of staff lives here, but also because this market is fiercely closed, monopolistic, and undoubtedly, xenophobic. Well, for the poor louts whose iPhone has been castrated and left to sing the high notes of a glorified iPod touch, there is hope, though typcially expensive. iPhone in Korea, a blog dedicated to just that, recently covered the ins and outs of how to register, and use your iPhone on cellular networks in Korea. It isn’t easy, and as with all things foreign, certainly ain’t cheap, but at least it can be done. Again, this news rides on the cusp of the 2-year feinting publicity stunt which Korea’s carriers get off on: the launch of the iPhone.

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iPhone in Korea: KT and SKT dangle the smartphone in front of hungry customers

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Image Courtesy of telecomskorea

The Korean market isn’t new to corporate promises that the iPhone will appear on its shores. Since the 3G’s 2008 American introduction – a product launch which, along with the App Store, gave Apple’s phone new legs, promises of the phone’s introduction have come in well-timed spurts which are never accompanied by product. The lastest, again from Korea’s largest carrier, KT, suggests that it will supply Apple’s handset -a promise which SK (the nation’s 2nd largest carrier) are also staking. Several hardware hurdles which have held foreign manufacturers from the market have been removed, but still, successfully establishing a niche in what has until now, been a handset dictatorship, is difficult.

That may just be the problem – the dictator has become the prime minister. Samsung pretty much owns the country and is looking for a bigger piece all the time. Theme parks, grocery stores, car parks, life insurance, skyscrapers, mobile carriers, etc.; without Samsung, which accounts for 20% of Korea’s export market, the country would cease to operate.

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