Monday, July 26, 2010

Folks in South Korea upset over iPhone 4 delay

Hold on to that iPhone 3Gs
for a little while longer, Cholsu.
In June I reported that South Korea would be in the early second wave of countries receiving the iPhone 4, sometime in July. After Apple had problems making white iPhone 4 models and meeting demand for black models, they came up with a release date at the very end of July, and I reported over a week ago that South Korea had been dropped from the list.

Well, it turns out that, according to the Wall Street Journal's Evan Ramstad, some folks in Korea aren't too happy about that, including the iPhone's carrier, KT, and the ROK government whom Steve Jobs blamed for the delay:
While Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4 weathers a public-relations storm over reception issues in the U.S., it is facing a different tempest in South Korea: People are upset the country was dropped from a list of markets that are to get the phone this week.

The news came during the press conference Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs held July 16 to discuss problems with the new phone's antenna.

Mr. Jobs said that, while the new iPhone was dropping calls at a marginally greater rate than its predecessor, Apple would push ahead with plans for a rollout on July 30 in 17 of 18 new markets—omitting South Korea. "It's going to take us a little longer to get government approval there," he explained.

The news appeared to surprise the phone carrier that sells the iPhone in South Korea, KT Corp., which has been using the device to gain ground on market-leading SK Telecom Co. Since the introduction of the iPhone 3GS last November, KT has sold more than 800,000 of the phones in a market where about 20 million cellphones are purchased yearly.

And Mr. Jobs's explanation upset South Korean government officials, who have strived over the past year to repeal nontariff trade barriers that kept out foreign mobile-phone brands. The main communications regulator said last week that neither Apple nor KT had yet submitted the iPhone 4 for approval here.
Well, that sure paints an entirely different picture. Now it's entirely possible that had Apple submitted the iPhone 4 for approval as soon as it could, the company might still not have gotten approval in time for a July 30 release. But if it's true that neither Apple nor KT has even bothered to submit the iPhone 4, I think it's unfair to blame the later release on the government for not yet approving it.


  1. You can read between-the-lines with Jobs quote.
    He's implying that because it takes longer to get government approval in South Korea, they probably won't bother applying until the KT panics and plays politics with the approval process on behalf of Apple. It's a ploy designed to create greater market buzz and desireability from the scarcity (absence!) of iphone 4.

  2. You may be right. It certainly did take longer with the pre-4 iPhones, but most of the hurdles to the iPhone 4 would have been knocked down by that process methinks. I don't know how much playing politics would be needed now.

    I could see them thinking, "Hey, we don't have a lot of these to go around and we did just release the iPhone 3Gs in South Korea, so let's wait a bit."

    I do agree with you about market buzz. This kind of stuff makes people want to go out and grab one as soon as they can.


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