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Half of smartphones sold after 2017 cost over 1 mln won: lawmaker

2018/10/14 10:55

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SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- Fifty percent of smartphones sold in South Korea since last year carried a price tag of over 1 million won (US$880) due to a lack of competition among handset manufacturers, a lawmaker said Sunday.

In an analysis of sales data of the country's three major mobile carriers throughout 2017 and up to October of this year, submitted by the Korea Communications Commission to Rep. Park Kwang-on's office, 34 out of 67 flagship smartphones were sold for over 1 million won.

In Korea, Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co. manufacture handsets, but three telecommunications companies -- SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. -- provide wireless services and sell smartphones instead of the manufacturers. The telecom firms also handle Apple Inc.'s phones.

As the handset makers do not need to compete with each other to sell smartphones, they set higher prices on new products. The government has to let handset firms sell their products and telecom companies offer wireless services, which could help drive down smartphone prices by stimulating competition, the lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea said.

The latest findings showed that of all new smartphones released starting last year, 34 cost over 1 million won, with 18 models priced around 900,000 won and seven in the 800,000 won range, Park said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr

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