updated 01:40 pm EST, Thu February 24, 2011
SK Telecom may get CDMA iPhone 4 too
SK Telecom could get the CDMA iPhone 4 next month in what could be a significant shift in the Korean cellphone industry, according to claims from the field. The largest Korean carrier is supposedly in "final stage" talks with Apple to have the phone in March. The deal is claimed by Yonhap's contact to be "going smoothly" and all but certain to happen on time.
None of the involved parties have confirmed the talks, although the company has been connected with iPad and iPhone talks as early as last year.
While the phone would be as little as three months away from its sequel in the US, the deal could still shake up the Korean cellphone business and potentially disrupt Android. The iPhone has been very successful in Korea and has been credited with giving its only carrier KT a much greater footing, but it has faced mounting opposition from Android-based phones from local phone makers LG and Samsung. The Galaxy S reached two million units first after starting from behind.
SK Telecom has often been seen as key to Android's position in Korea and could give Apple a leverage point for customers that might never have considered an iPhone before. Picking up the iPhone might also prevent Samsung from wielding its virtual dominance of the Korean economy to try to shut down foreign competition. Before the Galaxy S arrived, KT alleged that Samsung was using retaliatory tactics to punish it for selling a device that was far outselling a Samsung lineup that, at the time, was headlined by an inferior Windows Mobile-based Omnia II.
Apple has never officially outlined plans to bring the CDMA iPhone to non-US carriers, but talks have been rumored for virtually every major CDMA carrier outside the US, including KDDI in Japan, China Telecom, and both Tata and Reliance in India.