South Korea approves sale of Apple’s iPhone
Telecommunications regulator (AP) – South Korea said Wednesday it has given approval for Apple Inc. ‘s iPhone hit to be sold in the country – potentially shake up a market controlled by mobile phone manufacturers.
The Korea Communications Commission approved the sale of the device at a meeting attended by five commissioners, said Commission spokesman, Lee Sang-hun.
The introduction of the iPhone has been long awaited in South Korea, where the mobile phone market is dominated by Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and other manufacturers.
Apple spokesman Steve Park said the company had no comment on the decision of the Commission and added that nothing was decided or planned on releasing the iPhone in South Korea.
Local service providers, however, said they are in talks with Cupertino, California, in connection with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone to South Korea.
“We will try to release the iPhone as soon as possible,” said Yeom Woo-jong, a spokesman for KT Corp.
Yeom, who welcomed the decision of the commission, said discussions were ongoing with Apple but that nothing had been decided.
The South Korean agency Yonhap, citing officials it did not identify KT, said the company plans to begin selling the iPhone in South Korea next month.
Lauren Kim, a spokesman for SK Telecom Co., also said it was in talks with Apple, but nothing was decided. But she said his company was reviewing the situation and has “plans to respond” if competitors decide to use the iPhone.
According to the website of Apple iPhone, the device is available in nearly 90 countries or territories and will soon be available in five more. South Korea was not included as one of them.
South Korea, the law requires companies that offer so-called location-based services – which in the case of the iPhone deal with functions such as mapping and address lookup – to get government permission, said Oh Sang-jin director of privacy protection of the KCC and the ethics of the division.
The Commission decided that to facilitate the entry of the iPhone to South Korea, local providers of telecommunications services to obtain the license on behalf of Apple, said Oh.
The Commission sought to “a flexible way to implement the Korean law for the case of Apple,” said Oh.