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2009/11/20 14:18 KST
KT aims to sell up to 500,000 units of iPhone: analyst

  
SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- KT Corp., the South Korean distributor of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, is shooting for total sales of 500,000 units of the smartphone slated to hit the local market next week, an analyst said Friday.

   KT, South Korea's second-largest mobile carrier, is scheduled to begin local sales of the world's most popular multimedia handset on Nov. 28. The launch comes after Apple received regulatory approval Wednesday.

   "KT insiders expect 100,000 to 500,000 units of the iPhone will be sold on the domestic market," Hwang Sung-jin, an analyst at Prudential Investment and Securities Co. said in a research note.

   Despite KT's rosy outlook, analysts are divided over whether the iPhone will become a hit in South Korea, he said.

   The iPhone failed to win the hearts and minds of consumers in other Asian markets. According market data, some 200,000 units of iPhone were sold after two months of its launch last year in Japan, one of the world's most advanced mobile markets. Since its debut on Oct. 30, 2009, only 30,000 units have been sold in China.

   Hwang predicted that the success of the iPhone in South Korea will hinge on KT's rate plans.

   "If KT offers rate plans ranging from 45,000 won (US$38.6) to 65,000 won per month in addition to adequate subsidies for subscribers, stable demand will be created," he said.

   KT has yet to disclose the price of the iPhone and its rate plans. In South Korea, smartphone rate plans normally range from 35,000 won to 95,000 won.
Market analysts expect that the iPhone itself will be sold at around 350,000 won to 400,000 won with subsidies of some 400,000 won provided, similar to the prices of other smartphones sold on the local market.
ygkim@yna.co.kr
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