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.
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.
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.
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.
Device now 12 percent of all Japanese cellphones
The iPhone has had an "extraordinary" reception in Asia, "on par with the US some cases," according to analysts Toni Sacconaghi and Sanford Bernstein of Bernstein Research. The pair point to recent IDC data in particular, which indicates that the iPhone now forms 12 percent of all Japanese cellphone sales, not just smartphones. Given momentum and plans to open 20 more Chinese Apple Stores in 2011, it's inevitable that the iPhone will come to more Asian carriers, Sacconaghi argues.
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.
Supplier tapped for possible Verizon iPhone
Pegatron has been contracted to make a CDMA iPhone, insiders claimed today. The scoop is short but would have the ASUS manufacturing arm building phones that would likely go to Verizon and possibly other carriers as well. A deal would help Pegatron take off as a major supplier, DigiTimes said.
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.
SK Telecom cools without Apple device
Central Korean carrier SK Telecom on Thursday surprised the financial community by reporting a rare drop in profit already being attributed to its lack of the iPhone. Its net income was still healthy but dropped 7.2 percent to the equivalent of about $210.1 million, the first drop of any kind in the past nine months. Officials at SKT blamed the reduced numbers on extra spending for marketing and other promo deals to keep customers from defecting to rivals KT or LG Telecom.
Pantech Sportive phone gets 3-inch screen, DMB TV
Korea's Pantech on Monday announced the release of its latest handset, the IM-U540L, also known as the Sportive. The phone has a 3-inch touchscreen and a 3-megapixel camera, while built-in widgets will let users access video and music on demand, as well as weather information. Bluetooth will be supported, and users will be able to view TV broadcasts thanks to its DMB TV tuner.
South Korea cell rate plans
The South Korean government's Communications Commission today ordered (subscription required) that carriers cut their subscription rates. The act follows up election promises by President Lee Myung-bak and will have all three major carriers in the country slash their voice, data and bundle prices by varying degrees. SK Telecom, which has just over half of the Korean market, will cut its voice rates by 27 percent to about $35 and its data plans by about 19 percent. KT will cut its own basic voice rate 20 percent to about $20 a month and will drop its data rates a sharp 62 percent. LG Telecom's voice prices should lower by about 25 percent.
Korea rules now permit iPhone sales
South Korea's Communications Commission on Wednesday cleared a path for Apple to legally sell the iPhone in the country. The organization said (subscription required) that it would waive a normal rule that requires domestic location software and instead let individual carriers obtain permission for Apple on its behalf. The iPhone's operating system code base and policies on third-party software would previously have prevented the device from arriving in Korea as-is.