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2009/06/29 15:31 KST
'BlackBerry' smartphones to reach S. Korean retail consumers

SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- A major Canadian handset maker is set to begin selling one of its most popular smartphone models to retail consumers in South Korea this week, its local partner said Monday.

   Research in Motion (RIM) Ltd. will start selling the BlackBerry Bold 9000 model to South Korean retail consumers from Tuesday, SK Telecom Co. said in a statement.

   The handheld device, which has been a hit among businesses in North America and Europe, became available for South Koreans in December.

The BlackBerry brand, first introduced in 2002, allows users to access closed corporate e-mail servers through a special software package.

   The retail sale comes after South Korea's telecom regulator scrapped the country's wireless Internet platform for interoperability, or WIPI, installation requirement in April, SK Telecom said.

   Additional software installation costs have been seen as a major hurdle to foreign mobile brands looking to enter the South Korean market.