Unique LTE frequencies may create problems
The two current iPhone carriers in South Korea, KT and SK Telecom, are in talks with Apple for LTE support in the next-generation iPhone, according to anonymous officials with the carriers in contact with the Korea Times. The underlying issue is that while the new iPhone is almost guaranteed to support LTE, KT and SK Telecom use separate frequencies for their LTE networks. KT wants Apple to support 1.8GHz, but SK wants 800MHz. SK reportedly sent an official to Apple's Cupertino headquarters earlier this week hoping to secure a deal.
New Samsung phone to support LTE, get Android 4.0.4
Yet another Samsung smartphone has been quietly revealed, this time by carrier KT in South Korea. The device, known thus far only by its SHV-E170K model number, would get an LTE radio and sport a dual-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4. It will also ship with Android 4.0.4 onboard, SammyHub reported, but it will have Samsung's TouchWiz custom skin onboard as well.
Korea reverses phone policy to derestrict sales
South Korea is about to take further steps that could open up not just overall mobile competition but a possible retail presence for Apple, local publication Maeil said Monday. As of May 1, the country will reverse its whitelist policy for which phones can be sold into a blacklist. Rather than only allowing phones registered through carriers and thus letting them restrict where the devices can be sold, the Korea Communications Commission will now allow any phone and any store, as long as the device wasn't reported lost or stolen. The move will likewise let stores sell phones independently of subscriptions rather than forcing customers to sign up as soon as they get the device.
Korean phone makers accused of hiking pricines
South Korea's Fair Trade Commission issued across-the-board fines on Thursday to domestic phone designers and carriers for price fixing. IT ruled that LG, Pantech, and Samsung, as well as three dominant carriers KT, LG Uplus, and SK Telecom, had colluded on the prices of phones. The group was accused of artificially inflating the prices of cellphones, only to pretend they were offering a discount for what was supposed to be a less expensive device.
Korean government urges Samsung, KT to deal
KT, the largest ISP in Korea, has now agreed to bring back web service for Samsung's Smart TVs, encouraged by government officials. KT refused service for the allegedly data-hungry TVs because Samsung wouldn't want to contribute to the costs associated with upgrading its network due to the added burden the TVs impose on it. Samsung filed a lawsuit against KT earlier this week, but the Korea Communications Commission negotiated a resolution between the two on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
iPad 3 should get multi-carrier launch
Fresh details leaked Monday have an LTE iPad 3 shipping for at least two US carriers. AT&T and Verizon would both sell the tablet at 4G speeds, the Wall Street Journal said. Whether or not Sprint's upcoming LTE network wasn't mentioned, but the hardware would have the expected fallback to 3G in areas where LTE wasn't available.
Samsung complains, refuses to negotiate
KT, Korea's largest wire-line operator and Internet services provider, has begun limiting web access to Samsung's Smart TVs. KT took the step a day after it warned Korean TV makers that it could not give Internet-enabled TVs a "free ride" over its network. The service provider wants compensation for the alleged heavy traffic the TVs create, claiming it slows down Internet service to its other customers.
Samsung Galaxy M Style is economic Galaxy S II
Samsung brought out one more phone ahead of CES on Wednesday. The Galaxy M Style is its lowest-cost phone ever to carry a Super AMOLED screen and brings the four-inch, 480x800 organic screen to a smartphone that will cost under $500 US unlocked. Its construction is just as high-end for the category, carrying a metal body that's 0.39 inches thick and with a similar front face to the more upscale Galaxy S II.
KT joins SKT and LG Telecom in adding LTE
South Korea's KT on Tuesday became the third carrier in the country to launch LTE-based 4G. Its Olleh 4G LTE service is starting up first with four phones, including the Pantech Vega and Samsung's Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy S II HD LTE, and Galaxy Note LTE. A unique trick of the new network is an adapative system known as Warp: KT can tie as many as 144 cell sites into one virtual station and dynamically put bandwidth where it's needed, potentially avoiding bottlenecks.
iPhone 4S may face technical, cultural
A rumor alleges that claims of a banner Korean iPhone 4S launch were far from true. An SK Telecom official supposedly talking to the Korea Times said that, instead of the 300,000 combined sales between pre-order and launch, real sales were supposedly below 150,000. The unnamed source implied that SKT's rival, KT, had artificially inflated the initial numbers by letting customers order as many as three phones at once.
One of many Friday launches
Today's South Korean iPhone 4S launch was met with long lines, at least at KT's flagship store in downtown Seoul, says local news agency Yonhap. There a lineup is said to have formed before sunrise. SK Telecom is also putting iPhones on sale however, marking an end to KT's exclusivity. The first 100 people to pre-order with SK were treated to a midnight event where phones were activated and Korean hip-hop acts performed.
Korea sees runaway iPhone 4S advance demand
Apple saw record demand for iPhone 4S pre-orders in South Korea, local reports mentioned. About 200,000 of the devices were sold in advance in one day at both KT and SK Telecom. Demand was so high, the Chosunilbo said, that websites crashed the same day.
Google CEO Schmidt to meet with Samsung, KT, LG
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will be in Seoul this week to meet with executives from South Korea's leading telecom and personal electronics companies. According to a source at The Korean Times, Schmidt will announce a number of significant investments in Korea, including a possible local Internet Data Center. Until recently, Google has struggled to establish itself in the market against Korean search companies Naver and Daum.
Handset itself offers high-end feature set
Korean carrier KT has unveiled a smartphone concept that pairs a handset with a wide range of dock accessories. The system centers around the Spider, an 0.37-inch-thick Android handset that offers a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and a 4.5-inch display with 1280x800 display, along with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of integrated storage.
Galaxy S II pips iPhone to 1m in 1 month for Korea
Samsung started off the week with word that the Galaxy S II had set a record for the fastest-selling smartphone in Korea. The dual-core Android machine hit one million sales in just its first month, or about one every three seconds. As a frame of reference, the Galaxy S took 70 days to reach the same tally, Samsung said.
Apple gets LG smartphone exec for Korea
An industry contact said Wednesday that Apple had snapped up a key LG executive for its Korean division. LG Smartphone Business VP Dominique Oh would now be the general manager for Apple Korea and replace the longstanding Andrew Sedgewick, who had been in the top spot since 2001. The Yonhap tip wasn't completely certain as it hadn't been confirmed by Apple or by Oh.
Numbers pale in comparison to iPhone 4
Samsung's Galaxy S II handset has reportedly reached sales numbers exceeding 120,000 in just three days of availability, industry sources have told Yonhap News Agency. Although the numbers appear to be easily eclipsed by initial sales from other high-end smartphones, such as the iPhone 4, the Galaxy S II report is limited to three carriers in South Korea.
SK Telecom and KT halt iPad 2 sales due to demand
Korean cell carriers KT and SK Telecom both said Tuesday that they had temporarily stopped taking online orders of the iPad 2 due to high demand. Both froze their sales outside of retail after just a week, with SK Telecom saying its stock had been "depleted" in the short space of time. Demand was larger worldwide than supply, SK added.
Samsung Galaxy S II hits 200K pre-orders in Korea
Samsung claimed an at least initial win for the Galaxy S II. The company took over 200,000 pre-orders across all three major Korean carriers between Monday of last week and the launch on Friday. About 160,000 of those were at the country's largest carrier, SK Telecom.
Korean Galaxy S II owners can pay using NFC
Superstore chain Lotte that operates in Japan and Korea in conjunction with mobile provider KT have began accepting NFC payments from compatible phones in Korea. At this point, that includes only the Samsung Galaxy S II on KT's network. NFC, or Near Field Communications, allows for wireless payments by swiping a handset with the compatible hardware and software tied to a user's bank or credit account.
Korean claims have iPhone 5 skipping
A potentially sketchy rumor has the iPhone 5 arriving in June after all. The device would still miss WWDC but could have a special event with Steve Jobs weeks later. ETNews claimed to know that both KT and SK Telecom would have the new model along with or soon after other countries.
Samsung offers WiBro Galaxy Tab in South Korea
Samsung has released a new Galaxy Tab with WiBro in South Korea at provider KT. WiBro is technically similar to WiMax, and indicates a similar model may arrive at Sprint in the US, the only carrier to support the 4G network. In Korea, the new model is priced lower than the 3G version.
SK Telecom confirms iPhone 4 due March 16
SK Telecom on Tuesday confirmed earlier tips and said it would carry the iPhone 4 on March 16. The Korean carrier will be just the second with an iPhone in the country. Its deal ends KT's technical exclusive for the iPhone, which was dictated mostly by its use of GSM.
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.
Apple faces entrenched smartphone market
Over 2 million iPhones have now been sold in South Korea, local carrier KT has announced. Various versions of the phone have been available in the country for little over a year. The iPhone 4 launched in the country on September 10th, and the 1 million mark was achieved a little over 10 days later.
Leak has CDMA iPhone beyond Verizon
The CDMA iPhone should reach beyond the Verizon model in the States to land at some of the most important Asian carriers, part suppliers may have revealed. Noting that only Foxconn-made models would go to Verizon, the insiders added that Apple's new contractor Pegatron would be making the new version for additional carriers in China, Japan and South Korea. The Digitimes claim didn't say when these countries would get the new model.
Film partly financed by local iPhone carrier
Korean director Park Chan-wook -- most famous for movies like Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance -- has debuted a film shot entirely on the iPhone 4, says the Wall Street Journal. Called Paranmanjang, or Ups and Downs in English, the 30-minute short tells the story of a man who catches a woman's body while fishing. Beyond the actual film, the scouting, auditions and making-of documentary were all shot with an iPhone 4, according to Park.
Enspert Identity Tab hands-on at CES
Enspert used the advent of CES to reveal that it was bringing its Identity Tab to the US in a possible major push against the iPad. We received details ahead of the launch and also had an opportunity to try the whole range, including the E201, E301 and the unique S200 home phone hub.
Korea snubs Nexus S over Google control, iPhone
Korean cell carriers are turning down the Nexus S both because of Google's control but also because of Apple, insider tips said late Thursday. Both KT and SK Telecom are reportedly upset that Google's insistence on a pure Android experience won't let them promote their own proprietary apps and services. Google's control of the marketing for the Android 2.3 flagship also wouldn't give them the marketing angle they would like, Korea Times had heard.
Galaxy S hits 2m in Korea as iPhone makes 1.8m
Samsung late on Sunday claimed the distinction of outpacing Apple to two million sales of a given smartphone model in Korea. The native firm sold two million Galaxy S phones in the six months since launch, beating the iPhone's 1.8 million since it went on sale over a year ago. The rate was a slight slowdown from the summer, when Samsung sold 800,000 phones in two months.
Dell Venue brings touch-only Android 2.2
Dell today confirmed the existence of the Thunder through a launch through Korean carrier KT. Now called the Venue, it has the same 4.1-inch, 480x800 AMOLED screen as the Venue Pro but with a curved Gorilla Glass touchscreen as its only input; the non-flat surface reportedly improves the grip. Similarly, it drops Windows Phone 7 in favor of Android 2.2 and is much closer to stock than the Aero or Streak.
3 UK plans to carry subsidized 3G iPad in months
3 UK and T-Mobile UK have confirmed Apple's widening plans to offer subsidized iPads with a deal of its own. The British carriers will have 3G versions of the tablet available, including at "more affordable prices" when tied to a data plan. The companies wouldn't detail the prices or their plans other than to say the device would come in "coming months."
Acer CEO expects to overtake iPad in 2-3 years
Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci in a question and answer session after his tablet unveilings this week said that he hoped to beat Apple in the tablet market within two to three years. He expected Acer to get 10 to 20 percent of the field shortly after launch and to take the lead from the iPad later on. Apple's problem was its US-centric focus, which could hurt it where Acer and others were more world oriented.
KT carrying iPad Nov 30 with 60,000 pre-orders
South Korean carrier KT today said it would sell the iPad on November 30. The Apple tablet will unusually have the option of a subsidy and will start at the equivalent of $192 for a 16GB 3G iPad with a two-year, 2GB per month data contract. Wi-Fi versions will also be on sale starting at about $559 contract-free.
Apple iPad likely to sell in Korea in November
South Korea's Communications Commission today said Apple had asked for approval to sell the iPad in the country. A decision was expected within the next five days and could lead to sales shortly afterwards. Apple's only official Korean iPhone carrier, KT, said it wanted to sell the iPad starting in November if there were no obstacles.
Samsung Galaxy S cracks 5m, 40 percent in US
Samsung today signaled that it had sold five million Galaxy S phones since they went on sale during the summer. The numbers have been dominated by the US, which accelerated its early sales rate to reach its second million in a month. Sales in Samsung's native South Korea also played a large role at one million total.
Million iPhone sales in Korea after nine months
South Korea's KT this week said it had passed one million iPhone sales after nine months of having the device in the country. The marker was passed on August 16, almost a month before the Korean iPhone 4 launch, and is known to be accelerating with the launch of the current model. KT is still trying to fulfill the now 350,000 back orders for the iPhone 4 and expects to have reached 1.2 million sales by early October.
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.
KT Identity Tab preempts Apple and Samsung tablets
Korean cell carrier KT today upended the tablet market in its home country by launching its own model both ahead of Apple and Samsung. The Identity Tab is a seven-inch Android 2.2 tablet, much like the Galaxy Tab, but is aimed distinctly at Koreans signing on to its service. It comes with a DMB TV tuner for over-the-air digital video in the country and, when attached to KT, arrives with a WiBro (WiMAX) card for 4G, albeit likely for sharing data from a nearby computer.
Apple tablet could arrive early next month
South Korean companies are vowing to introduce other tablet offerings to combat the iPad, which could ship to the country very soon, writes Agence France-Presse. The country's top wireless carrier, SK Telecom, is hedging much of its bets on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch Android-based tablet. "We are aiming for a September release," says SK spokesman Kim Dae-Woong, though prices and a release date are as yet undecided. "We are also considering diverse tablet PCs at the moment."
KT overwhelmed by iPhone 4, but Galaxy S closing
KT's servers were overwhelmed with pre-orders for the September South Korean iPhone 4 launch, officials said Wednesday. About 110,000 pre-orders went through in just nine hours, causing enough congestion that it bogged down the company's servers. The online pre-orders are due to last for another week and could mark a record for one-day sales in the country.
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.
Optimus Z becomes LG's flagship phone at home
LG today launched its promised Optimus Z early with a release in its home country of South Korea. The phone occupies the higher end of the spectrum with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 3.5-inch 800x480 screen and a five-megapixel camera. In a unique touch, it has a PC-to-phone link that can control phone, app and e-mail functions from a computer over either Bluetooth or USB.
May help locally-made smartphones
The decision to drop South Korea from this week's list of iPhone 4 launches has generated some controversy in the country, says the Wall Street Journal. Apple CEO Steve Jobs actually announced the move on July 16th, saying that it would "take us a little longer to get government approval there." The current Korean iPhone carrier, KT, initially insisted that a July 30th launch was still on track; the company was later forced to admit that the phone would arrive "in the coming months."
Samsung sells 300K Galaxy S phones in Korea in 19d
SK Telecom today said it had sold 300,000 of Samsung's Galaxy S in just 19 days. The figure is a record for both the Korean carrier and Samsung and already puts the Android flagship at more than a third of the sales of the iPhone. KT, Apple's exclusive carrier in South Korea, had managed to sell 800,000 iPhones by the end of June.
KT to have own Nexus One version
Korean cell carrier KT said on Monday that it would carry the Nexus One. The launch is the first since Google stopped selling online-only and will see the phone first available through KT's online store in late June and its physical stores by July. It should be fundamentally the same as the international GSM version but may come loaded with Android 2.2 out of the box.
KT wants iPad on 4G in its country
KT is allegedly pushing for iPads with not just 3G but also built-in WiMAX, one brief note claimed today. In addition to pushing for the existing 3G version, the South Korean carrier purportedly wants a version for its 4G network. The unnamed Telecom Korea sources didn't say how close KT was to such an aim.
Samsung denying KT phones due to iPhone
Samsung has been retaliating against Korean cell carrier KT for its success with the iPhone, the provider's chairman Lee Suk-chae said today. Following the popularity of Apple's phone at KT, Samsung has allegedly been diverting most of its best phones to SK Telecom and deliberately offering slack support for the few phones that do reach the number two carrier. Lee went so far as to accuse Samsung and other phone makers of collaborating on an anti-iPhone strategy that uses SK Telecom as its front.
AMOLED Beam precedes Samsung's Android model
Samsung on Wednesday morning shipped its second projector phone, the AMOLED Beam. Not to be confused with the Android-based Beam i8520, the phone uses Samsung's own feature phone OS and chiefly upgrades visuals both on and off the phone. Its namesake 3.3-inch, 800x480 display is more color accurate than the old Haptic Beam's LCD, and its pico projector is now about 1.5 times brighter and better suited to real environments.
iPhone sells as well as Samsung's best in Korea
South Korean sales of the iPhone are moving as quickly as Samsung's flagship Omnia II, separate statments. KT on Thursday said it had sold about 400,000 iPhones in the past four months, or about 100,000 per month since January. The rate was enough to come on par with Samsung's Omnia II, which Samsung earlier this week said had sold 600,000 units so far in six months of being in subscribers' hands.