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S. Korean smartphone users to top 30 mln
SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- The number of smartphone users in South Korea will likely top 30 million Tuesday on the back of the fast-growing fourth-generation long-term evolution (LTE) network service, industry sources said.

   Sources said that the country's three mobile carriers reported a total of 29.97 million smartphone subscribers as of last Friday, with an additional 55,000 or 60,000 users expected to have bought new smartphones over the weekend.

   The three local mobile carriers are SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp.

   Market leader SK Telecom had 14.72 million users on Friday, while KT had 9.4 million and LG Uplus held 5.78 million.

   Considering the current steady growth of smartphone users, the number of subscribers is expected to hit the 30 million mark on Tuesday in the country with a population of 50 million.

   South Korea, one of the world's most wireless nations, saw the number of smartphone users top 10 million in March last year and exceed the 20 million mark just 7 months later. Market insiders said the upward trend was fueled by the introduction of Apple Inc.'s iconic iPhone in late 2009.

   They also said that the popularity of smartphones that run on the LTE network offered fresh momentum to the heavily saturated market.The super-fast communications network service, which allows people to see movies with no lag time and download full-length movies in seconds, was launched in July last year.

   The number of LTE smartphone users reached 9.21 million as of Friday, taking up more than 30 percent of the total smartphone subscribers, as the local mobile carriers are beefing up their advertising and marketing campaigns in a bid to gain a bigger stake in the mushrooming market.

   brk@yna.co.kr
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