iPhone Accepted The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), South Korea’s communications regulator, decided on Wednesday, September 22, to allow the sale of Apple’s iPhone. Mobile phones sold in South Korea must use domestic technology for location-based services such as GPS. The KCC has stated that the built-in mapping capabilities found in the iPhone violate such rule but made an exception for the iPhone. Consumers have put a tremendous amount of pressure on the KCC to allow the sale of the iPhone in South Korea.
Technicality Technical rules have been used for a long time to protect its domestic market. For instance, in 2005 the KCC created a rule to block smartphones like Research In Motion’s BlackBerry by requiring the use of domestically created software for Internet functions. It was only in December 2008 when the KCC created an exception for BlackBerry smartphones to be sold only to corporate users.
Next Month KT Corp. is the second largest cellular service company in South Korea, behind number one SK Telecom, based on the number of subscribers. It is not certain if Apple will work exclusively with KT or with all three including LG Telecom, but KT will start selling the iPhone next month.
Local Domination Samsung and LG dominate South Korea’s mobile phone market. Average prices for their mobile phones are roughly double the average prices they receive outside the country. Similar to the US before Apple shook things up with its iPhone, South Korea’s telecom companies control the sale of mobile phones and the software that is used. If the iPhone sells well, the way cellular business is done in South Korea might drastically change. The price of the iPhone is still unknown, but if US prices are any indication, Samsung and LG will need to drastically cut prices to compete.
“South Korea to Allow iPhone Entry” – The Wall Street Journal
“South Korea approves sale of iPhone” – AFP