iPhone Launching Big in South Korea

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Apr 12, 2001
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An AP story indicates that the lead up to the iPhone launch in South Korea on Saturday was a much bigger event than the China launch. KT Corp. reported 53,000 iPhone pre-orders prior to the Korean launch day.

These numbers suggest that the iPhone will be sizable competition for local companies such as Samsung and LG. The current smartphone market in South Korea is estimated to be about 400,000 users as of the end of the 3rd quarter, with the full size of the mobile phone market estimated at 47 million units.

The iPhone does have the disadvantage of not supporting some of the localized features that some customers have come to expect. Specifically, the ability to watch live local television is said to be a popular feature on existing Korean phones.

Article Link: iPhone Launching Big in South Korea
 

thespazz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2007
528
32
Imagine the speeds that they're getting over there...

Oh God one can dream....
 
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adder7712

macrumors 68000
Mar 9, 2009
1,923
0
Canada
Probably they have very fast HSDPA there. At first I thought South Korea exclusively uses CDMA2000.
 
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Gnawbert

macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2009
7
0
As an American living and teaching here in SK it's interesting to see how locked in the cell phone industry is. The internet here is blazingly fast and awesome, but the cell phone industry is more like a cartel than a competition. It'll be nice to see the iPhone actually making waves against the other outrageously priced smart-phones here.

Unfortunately, many foreigners here such as myself are finding it next to impossible to actually get an iPhone, as the telecom that is providing it (KT/Show) is notoriously unfriendly toward giving foreigners cell phones at all. A local phone shop actually told me 'not for foreigners'.

*sigh*
 
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Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2008
1,821
54
As an American living and teaching here in SK it's interesting to see how locked in the cell phone industry is. The internet here is blazingly fast and awesome, but the cell phone industry is more like a cartel than a competition. It'll be nice to see the iPhone actually making waves against the other outrageously priced smart-phones here.

Unfortunately, many foreigners here such as myself are finding it next to impossible to actually get an iPhone, as the telecom that is providing it (KT/Show) is notoriously unfriendly toward giving foreigners cell phones at all. A local phone shop actually told me 'not for foreigners'.

*sigh*
That's not right. Wowww, I would be so pissed! Go talk to a manager or something
 
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solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
506
283
As an American living and teaching here in SK it's interesting to see how locked in the cell phone industry is. The internet here is blazingly fast and awesome, but the cell phone industry is more like a cartel than a competition. It'll be nice to see the iPhone actually making waves against the other outrageously priced smart-phones here.

Unfortunately, many foreigners here such as myself are finding it next to impossible to actually get an iPhone, as the telecom that is providing it (KT/Show) is notoriously unfriendly toward giving foreigners cell phones at all. A local phone shop actually told me 'not for foreigners'.

*sigh*
Do you think it will be as popular as this article suggests? Note that Chinese Unicom iPhone had a huge pre-order followed by about 5k sales due to the removable of WiFi and high price compared to grey market sales.

S. Korea is different since there is no viable grey market due to the IMEI lock down. On top of that, only 400k with smartphones seems very low for a country with 47M and a reportedly fast and well covered mobile network.
 
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akbc

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2008
370
0
As an American living and teaching here in SK it's interesting to see how locked in the cell phone industry is. The internet here is blazingly fast and awesome, but the cell phone industry is more like a cartel than a competition. It'll be nice to see the iPhone actually making waves against the other outrageously priced smart-phones here.

Unfortunately, many foreigners here such as myself are finding it next to impossible to actually get an iPhone, as the telecom that is providing it (KT/Show) is notoriously unfriendly toward giving foreigners cell phones at all. A local phone shop actually told me 'not for foreigners'.

*sigh*
If you're a teacher there, I'm guessing you're on an E-2 Visa, which means you can get a cell phone from any carriers (including Show, SKT and LGtelecom(OZ)) if you pay a deposit. You can even have two lines, too.
Most foreigner friends of mine don't want to pay the damn deposit, but it doesn't mean you cannot get a phone.

Especially for LGtelecom, they don't even require deposit if it's your first line of cell phones. And activation takes less than 10 minutes.

As a foreigner myself, I own a line from Show and one from SKT, and have been using my iPhone 3GS on Show network for almost 3 months now after getting it approved by KFCC privately. And it's been an extremely satisfying experience.

I think you haven't been to a phone shop in a year or two, or you've just met a very bad dealership and have had bad experiences from them :(

Anyways, back on topic, they have just finished (or almost finished) the iPhone launch event at the Olympics Stadium, activating 1,000 iPhones instantly today, and the rest of the people who have pre-ordered will get their activated phones by the first week of december.

But to note, there were already over 300 people who have used iPhone on Show or SKT carriers, by getting their phones approved by the Korean FCC thingy... including me.

And the reason why Korean smartphone shares are so low, is that Korean cell phones can already do most of the office editing, mobile banking, pay for the bus, pay for your drinks at the local convenience store, watch TV ANYWHERE (including subways :)) and more...
Smartphones are the ones that are actually lacking some of the mobile banking stuff and good mobile internet because most Korean gov't and bank websites don't support Mobile IE and such.

And since Samsung just announced the price drop on the T*OMNIA2: AMOLED version, and Blackberry pushing their Bold harder than ever, I think this whole smartphone war is going to be interesting :)
 
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samab

macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2006
863
0
Do you think it will be as popular as this article suggests? Note that Chinese Unicom iPhone had a huge pre-order followed by about 5k sales due to the removable of WiFi and high price compared to grey market sales.

S. Korea is different since there is no viable grey market due to the IMEI lock down. On top of that, only 400k with smartphones seems very low for a country with 47M and a reportedly fast and well covered mobile network.
It really depends on your level of expectation.

If people expect that the Koreans and the Japanese to have the same number of iphones per capita as the US, then they will be disappointed.
 
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solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
506
283
It really depends on your level of expectation.

If people expect that the Koreans and the Japanese to have the same number of iphones per capita as the US, then they will be disappointed.
My post clear questioned the number of sales compared to the number of pre-orders and made mention of the very low smartphone numbers compared to their total number of cell phones in use. I made no mention of per capita sales or comparison to other countries.
 
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dagamer34

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2007
1,359
101
Houston, TX
My post clear questioned the number of sales compared to the number of pre-orders and made mention of the very low smartphone numbers compared to their total number of cell phones in use. I made no mention of per capita sales or comparison to other countries.
If a person in South Korea desired an iPhone, they've had 2.5-3 years to wait for to come to them. That's why pre-orders would be exponentially higher than sales in the days after. Who would want to wait past launch day?
 
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solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
506
283
If a person in South Korea desired an iPhone, they've had 2.5-3 years to wait for to come to them. That's why pre-orders would be exponentially higher than sales in the days after. Who would want to wait past launch day?
Why exactly would it take so long to get an iPhone in S. Korea? It reportedly goes on sale tomorrow for as little as 32,000 won ($114 USD) for the 32GB 3GS with a two year contract. With a reported smartphone user base of only 400K I can’t see why supply would be hard to come by.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,614
4,086
Does the TV watching actually require any different hardware?

I was under the impression the only thing keeping me from watching TV on my iPhone 3GS here in the US was AT&T and their refusal to allow people to do such bandwidth hogging activities. Aren't there a few apps that have been popping up that allow you to stream TV as an easter egg, only to be brought down when apple catches wind?

My point is, if the S Korean providers allow TV streaming on other phones, why wouldn't they allow it on the iPhone?
 
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Yuniverse

macrumors member
Feb 25, 2003
65
5
Why exactly would it take so long to get an iPhone in S. Korea? It reportedly goes on sale tomorrow for as little as 32,000 won ($114 USD) for the 32GB 3GS with a two year contract. With a reported smartphone user base of only 400K I can’t see why supply would be hard to come by.
32,000 won is not $114 USD. It's about $27 USD. $114 is about 135,000 Won.
Also, it "wouldn't take" so long. What he meant was that it "took" so long for Apple to get approved by the Korean govt...or whoever...
 
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Yuniverse

macrumors member
Feb 25, 2003
65
5
Does the TV watching actually require any different hardware?

I was under the impression the only thing keeping me from watching TV on my iPhone 3GS here in the US was AT&T and their refusal to allow people to do such bandwidth hogging activities. Aren't there a few apps that have been popping up that allow you to stream TV as an easter egg, only to be brought down when apple catches wind?

My point is, if the S Korean providers allow TV streaming on other phones, why wouldn't they allow it on the iPhone?
Not sure, but you can read about the technology here (DMB)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Multimedia_Broadcasting
 
Comment

Gnawbert

macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2009
7
0
If you're a teacher there, I'm guessing you're on an E-2 Visa, which means you can get a cell phone from any carriers (including Show, SKT and LGtelecom(OZ)) if you pay a deposit. You can even have two lines, too.
Most foreigner friends of mine don't want to pay the damn deposit, but it doesn't mean you cannot get a phone.

Especially for LGtelecom, they don't even require deposit if it's your first line of cell phones. And activation takes less than 10 minutes.

As a foreigner myself, I own a line from Show and one from SKT, and have been using my iPhone 3GS on Show network for almost 3 months now after getting it approved by KFCC privately. And it's been an extremely satisfying experience.
Very interesting stuff about getting your 3GS approved here. I think I read something similar to that on one of the expat sites in SK. It sounded like quite a process. Good on you for doing it!

And you're correct about the E-2, which has been the bane of my existence in South Korea for the last 2 years. I've had LG and they've been great, but that was after almost a half dozen attempts at every store in Bundang that gave us the waegook aniyo thing. And I'm doubly paranoid about deposits. In 2 years I've seen first hand two separate friends not get their deposits back at the end because the store and company simply could not find where the money went.

It'll be neat seeing the iPhone in the subway. I get asked occasionally if my iPod touch is an iPhone. It does have skype so I might be tempted to lie ^_^
 
Comment

solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
506
283
Does the TV watching actually require any different hardware?

I was under the impression the only thing keeping me from watching TV on my iPhone 3GS here in the US was AT&T and their refusal to allow people to do such bandwidth hogging activities. Aren't there a few apps that have been popping up that allow you to stream TV as an easter egg, only to be brought down when apple catches wind?

My point is, if the S Korean providers allow TV streaming on other phones, why wouldn't they allow it on the iPhone?
Here is some info on the terestrial and sat versions of the service.
 
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solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
506
283
32,000 won is not $114 USD. It's about $27 USD. $114 is about 135,000 Won.
Yes, I just checked that figure. The site I checked for that is obviously wrong so I can’t trust the 32GB 3GS price either.

Also, it "wouldn't take" so long. What he meant was that it "took" so long for Apple to get approved by the Korean govt...or whoever...
I don’t see how that has any baring on the pre-order number, unless he is suggesting that KT has had pre-orders for 2.5-3 years. Since the announcement is only a couple months old my original query of, "Do you think it will be as popular as this article suggests?” is still waiting for a local to chime in with their assessment.
 
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johndoe28

macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2009
3
0
Seoul, South Korea.
akbc is totally correct.

It's certainly easily for Koreans to get a mobile quickly, i just asked my girlfriend who is a Korean national to order one from KT's website for me.

iPhone 3Gs 32GB White - 396k Won ($340) for a 45k Won ($38) a month plan (24 month contract). That includes 200 minutes, 300 texts and 500MB data. I have to say I wish the data plan was a bit better, but I think overall KT offered a pretty good package, I hope they upgrade the data plans for free later on, though.

Looking forward to getting it next week, can get rid of my crappie Samsung Anycall and its painful text message system!
 
Comment

realeric

macrumors 65816
Jun 19, 2009
1,056
1,314
United States
Why exactly would it take so long to get an iPhone in S. Korea?
That's because of WIPI, a middleware, that allows mobile phones, regardless of manufacturer, to run all applications. All phones sold in S. Korea had been required to include the WIPI platform to avoid inordinate competition between mobile companies, but iPhone failed to support it. Korean government waived the requirement from middle of 2009.

I wish I were in S. Korea because 16GB 3GS is free :eek: with 2-year commitment of $82/m plan.
 
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solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
506
283
That's because of WIPI, a middleware, that allows mobile phones, regardless of manufacturer, to run all applications. All phones sold in S. Korea had been required to include the WIPI platform to avoid inordinate competition between mobile companies, but iPhone failed to support it. Korean government waived the requirement from middle of 2009.
I asked, "Do you think [the iPhone] will be as popular [in S. Korea] as this article suggests [due to the 50k pre-orders]?” and I got an odd reply about waiting 2.5 to 3 years when the pre-order could have only been setup for a few months from the time KT announced the iPhone coming to their network. WIPI has absolutely nothing to do with any of that since the iPhone coming to KT was announced AFTER that law was changed.

This forum really is Digg level in comprehension and makes me miss AppleInsider posters even with their handful of resident trolls. Buh bye.
 
Comment

Lex Yu

macrumors member
Nov 27, 2009
32
0
That's because of WIPI, a middleware, that allows mobile phones, regardless of manufacturer, to run all applications. All phones sold in S. Korea had been required to include the WIPI platform to avoid inordinate competition between mobile companies, but iPhone failed to support it. Korean government waived the requirement from middle of 2009.

I wish I were in S. Korea because 16GB 3GS is free :eek: with 2-year commitment of $82/m plan.
Well, you are not wrong but WIPI is not all about it. As a trade barrier, Korean government and giant companies such as Samsung, which is 10x bigger than Apple, have tried setting tones of obstacles against iPhone launch in S. Korea. Among those, the biggest thing was WIPI(differs from Wi-Fi) obligation rule which had blocked not only Apple but also Nokia, SonyEricson, HTC and so on. The second thing was LBS(Location based service) provider register issue that every mobile device using GPS or something else to detect user's current location for map applications is not allowed to be sold in Korea until the vendor registers itself to Korean government as a LBS provider. It took months until we see the committee finding that says "Apple has been registered." The question is "why did it take so long time to certificate Apple? Did Samsung bother it? (Yes they did, actually. We all know it!!)
 
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akbc

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2008
370
0
Does the TV watching actually require any different hardware?

I was under the impression the only thing keeping me from watching TV on my iPhone 3GS here in the US was AT&T and their refusal to allow people to do such bandwidth hogging activities. Aren't there a few apps that have been popping up that allow you to stream TV as an easter egg, only to be brought down when apple catches wind?

My point is, if the S Korean providers allow TV streaming on other phones, why wouldn't they allow it on the iPhone?
Yeah, like others have pointed out, we use the DMB technology to watch TV here, so it's not so much of bandwidth issue. Besides, no one is stopping me from using an app like TVU player on my Korean 3G network, so I'm quite happy :)

But one drawback is that there aren't any "unlimited" data plans available for ANY smartphones here in Korea at the moment, so watching the TVU player on 3G might er... be a miserable experience :) haha.
 
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DeepIn2U

macrumors 604
May 30, 2002
6,578
1,963
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Yeah, like others have pointed out, we use the DMB technology to watch TV here, so it's not so much of bandwidth issue. Besides, no one is stopping me from using an app like TVU player on my Korean 3G network, so I'm quite happy :)

But one drawback is that there aren't any "unlimited" data plans available for ANY smartphones here in Korea at the moment, so watching the TVU player on 3G might er... be a miserable experience :) haha.
Don't forget in Europe that DVB-H is the standard, but very rarely deployed (Italy has it, Philippeans has it also).

Also note that DISH networks have a satellite in orbit that provides DVB-SH to broadcast to terrestrial DVB-H stations that could consideribly blanket the costal USA for streaming. I'm unsure why it never took off - Qualcomm's streaming technology never really dominated.

DVB-H carriers much of the quality video - standardizes on H.264 as bandwidth is at a lower premium and thus better on battery life.

So I think its the lack of supporting that technology in the iPhone itself via hardware. I'm curious if TV broadcasting & download will be done via QuickTime or iTunes via iPhone and the provider having a Podcast Server setup on their network to handle all the requested streams????

If so this COULD be VERY interesting! I recall back when the Motorola iTunes ROKR was launched (same year) Apple was talking about implementing QuickTime Pro into streaming networks in Japan over cellular, so its not impossible.
 
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