By Lee Youkyung
SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- Sales of the iPhone, Apple Inc.'s iconic smartphone, passed 1 million within about nine months of its debut in South Korea, fast changing the country's mobile landscape, the phone's local distributor said Sunday.
KT Corp., the local operator of the iPhone, said that 1.02 million iPhones were activated as of Aug. 16, about nine months after the product's launch in South Korea last year.
KT, the dominant fixed-line operator and No. 2 mobile carrier, said that it expects iPhone sales to reach 1.2 million in early October. The company received 350,000 advanced orders for the iPhone 4, the latest model from Apple, which arrived in the country Sept. 10.
KT attributed the iPhone's popularity to strong, widespread cellular and wireless-fidelity (WiFi) networks, as well as rich applications available in the App Store.
South Korea was one of the last major countries to receive the iPhone in November 2009, but the country's mobile landscape has changed quickly since the arrival of the U.S. company's flagship model.
The country's number of smartphone users is expected to surge to 4.8 million this year, about 22 percent of the entire wireless market, from half a million last year, according to industry data.
The iPhone also drove the growth of wireless data usage among mobile subscribers, as it fueled the price competition among mobile carriers. KT said iPhone users consume about 32 times more wireless data than conventional phone users and four times more than other smartphone users.