September 24, 2009 09:04
The Apple iPhone is finally coming to Korea. The Korea Communications Commission said Wednesday that it approved mobile carrier KT to introduce the popular smartphone, and KT believes it will be able to offer the device from November once it finishes pricing negotiations with Apple.
The arrival of the iPhone is likely to spark a major transformation in the local cell phone market. A great number of Koreans have been eagerly awaiting the hit product, whose sleek design and robust functionality have helped Apple sell 27 million units in North America in two years.
But fame is no guarantee of success in Korea. The price in particular could be a stumbling block. Successful sales may depend on the size of the subsidies that KT offers customers. The company said it has yet to finalize the price of the device or usage fees.
Another potential handicap is Apple's reputation for poor follow-up service for its products. When confronted with reports of exploding iPod media players in France, the Netherlands, and the U.K. in August, the company only made excuses, saying users had banged the devices. It also has a policy of replacing faulty devices instead of repairing specific parts, but the replacements can be refurbished units rather than new ones. Cell phone parts commonly break because of frequent handling, but Apple is not changing its policy.
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