updated 09:15 am EDT, Fri September 10, 2010
iPhone 4 hits Korea with Android looming
KT today launched the iPhone 4 in South Korea and already faced a major backlog. The carrier delivered 10,000 Apple devices on launch day but had taken close to 300,000 advance orders by the time doors opened, giving it nearly a month's worth of orders to fill at its current rate. About 20,000 of those were placed just on Friday, KT said.
The launch is much stronger than that for the iPhone 3GS. If every order was fulfilled, KT would reach a third of the 900,000 sales that it reached for the iPhone 3GS so far. Apple is reported by the Korea Times as catering to customers through a more hands-on approach to service to keep customers onboard, by offering help through its own service centers and by increasing its service footprint by 40 percent. South Korea's Fair Trade Commission and Korea Communications Commission have been looking into the company's practices after complaints of high service fees and a tendency to give out refurbished phones for replacements.
Apple faces some of its fiercest opposition in Korea as it has to compete in the home territory of both LG and Samsung. The latter had its once safe Korean market share rocked by the iPhone and fired back with a new commitment to Android. Samsung had sold over 800,000 Galaxy S phones in just two months in its home country and has mostly reclaimed its standing as a smartphone producer. The company has been accused of retaliating against KT for its success with the iPhone by refusing to let it sell the Omnia II under its usual name and of putting it last in support compared to SK Telecom and LG Telecom.