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Sometimes there's better news, especially in the wake of slow iPhone sales in China. In its first day of availability at the end of November, the iPhone sold an estimated 60,000 units in South Korea, giving Apple one successful Asian debut. Wireless carrier KT Corporation reported the number, which now represents 15% of 400,000 total smartphones sold in the country in the third quarter of 2009.
Saturday's South Korean iPhone launch could greatly affect the region's cellphone market. Per wireless carrier KT's advance order of 53,000 unites, a number described as "phenomenal" by Prudential analyst Hwang Sung-jin. "The iPhone's release will definitely stiffens competition for local companies such as Samsung and LG," Sung-jin adds.
Apple looks ready to expand the iPhone to South Korea after earning approval from the nation's telecommunications director on Wednesday. The Korea Communications Commission approved the iPhone at its meeting, which means Apple can now sell the device whenever it chooses The handset is now expected to arrive in a matter of weeks, perhaps before the end of the month.
Getting back to Apple's international expansion, a new decision will allow the iPhone to finally be sold in South Korea. Per the Wall Street Journal, a Korean Communications Commission (KCC) rule specifying that domestic technology must be used for location services on phones was removed, clearing the way for the iPhone to be permitted within the South Korean market.
South Korea has been ready to get the iPhone for some time now, but one obstacle has stood in the way of an iPhone launch in the country. Up until recently, their government had a law stating that all phones must have support for WIPI, a software platform developed by the government to make handsets there more compatible with each other, but something that wasn't about to be available on the iPhone. As a result of the dropping of the standard, several companies, including RIM, Nokia, and Apple, will be able to sell their handsets there starting April 1st. [via Macworld]
The iPhone 3G launch in South Korea has hit an unexpected snag that may keep it from going on sale at it's set date. Government officials are taking longer than expected to approve the device for sale in the country, resulting in a delay that could prevent it from going on sale in time for the holiday season.
CEO Cho Young-chu of Korea Telecom Freetel (KTF) said today that they have begun negotiations with Apple to bring the iPhone to South Korea. ``We have been trying to bring the iPhone here, but we have to wait,'' said Cho. "The deal is up to the supplier, not us. Because the (Korean) market is so small, they will not release it until they have confidence in its marketability here.''