updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue August 3, 2010
Korea says iPhone 4 OK as SKT gets Android help
South Korea's Communications Commission approved the iPhone 4 after regulatory delays prevented it from launching it on July 30. The phone is now clear to sell but could take one to two months to reach the market as its exclusive carrier, KT, gets ready to sell the Apple device. Representative Lee In-won expects a launch "sometime in September," or less than a year after the iPhone 3GS arrived last November.
KT added that it had sold 840,000 iPhones since they went on sale and that its revenue grew 2.3 percent to the equivalent $4.25 billion based primarily on its smartphone sales.
The shorter turnaround time could be essential to Apple, as Samsung is seeing brisk Galaxy S sales that saw 300,000 of the Android phones move in Korea in about two and a half weeks on the market. Rival carriers like SK Telecom have been urgently seeking a competitor after the failure of Samsung's Omnia II to oust Apple and have been accused of punishing KT by giving it weaker support.
SK Telecom has thrown most of its weight behind Android and just today said it had struck a deal with Google to support Android Market in the country. The two will work to create a channel of SK-specific apps, support local developers and switch on carrier billing rather than requiring Google Checkout. Android Market is relatively young in the country and initially wasn't as well stocked as in the US or other countries that have had Android phones for longer.
Simultaneously, SK Telecom today launched the BlackBerry Storm2, bringing the first touchscreen phone from RIM to the country almost a year after it arrived in North America and Europe. The phone is largely unchanged from its CDMA and GSM/HSPA dual-mode support, 3.2-megapixel camera and click-down display.