South Korean telecommunication regulators have now decided to allow Apple to sell its popular iPhone in the country, which is one of the most closed and expensive regions for mobile phones, and could allow the passage other brands that did not have access to the market beforehand.
South Korea will join China in being the latest to allow the iPhone to be sold. The product has been sold in most of Eastern and Western Europe, South America and all of North America. It is also sold in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, India and in limited parts of the Middle East and Africa.
Unlike China, however, it would not need to remove any functions on the phone. China allowed the phone to be sold after Apple agreed to create a special version of the phone that would remove the Wi-Fi component to comply with the law.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Korea Communications Commission has used technical rules to protect local manufacturers like LG and Samsung while they improve their technology to keep up with their international competitors. This strategy has worked to make Samsung and LG become the second and third largest makers of phones in the world, respectively, in terms of units and revenue.
However, these regulations have made it impossible for the iPhone and the BlackBerry to enter into the market, despite LG and Samsung offering iPhone-like devices in the country and around the world, but sales have been limited because of the high prices set by the companies and the lack of applications built for the Korean language.
But, regulations were relaxed on the iPhone after pressure from consumers, after claiming that the iPhone could not be sold here because its GPS functionality violated a rule in the country that required the use of local technology for location-based services in phones.
The local carrier KT, the second largest carrier in terms of subscribers, is looking to be the carrier to offer the iPhone, after acknowledging for months that it has been under negotiations to sell the iPhone; but, SK Telecom, the largest carrier, is looking at how other carriers handle the product.