Apple Online Store“The iPhone’s arrival in South Korea is generating considerable buzz among consumers and industry watchers amid expectations it will shake up a market dominated by world-beating domestic manufacturers,” Kelly Olsen reports for The Associated Press. “‘I can’t wait to get my iPhone,’ said Na Hae-bin, a 30-year-old market researcher at an Internet company, who reserved one as soon as he could. ‘My heart was beating fast.'”

“Judging from pre-orders that started Nov. 22, Apple Inc.’s hit communications device appears set to make serious inroads in South Korea — home to some of the world’s most sophisticated mobile phone users,” Olsen reports. “So far, KT Corp., the local mobile carrier which has contracted with Apple to sell service plans for the phone, says it has received 53,000 advance orders ahead of Saturday’s official launch.

Olsen reports, “Such numbers have impressed analysts. ‘This is phenomenal,’ said Hwang Sung-jin, who monitors the industry at Prudential Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul… But he added it is difficult to assess how much of an inroad the iPhone will make in the growing domestic smartphone market, which he said totaled about 400,000 users at the end of the third quarter.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not at all difficult. We estimate the amount of inroad the iPhone will make in the South Korean smartphone market to be, let’s see… 53,000 divided by 400,000… around 13.25% to start.

Olsen continues, “Samsung, which is the world’s second-largest seller of mobile phones behind Finland’s Nokia Corp., said it expects the iPhone will ‘invigorate the South Korean smartphone market.’ Lauren Kim, a spokeswoman for SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, cited the iPhone’s arrival as ‘one of the factors’ behind price cuts announced this week for service plans for Samsung’s Omnia II smartphone.”

Full article here.

Evan Ramstad reports for The Wall Street Journal, “South Koreans pay the highest prices in the world for cellphones and among the highest for wireless service. The average selling price for Samsung and LG phones is nearly twice as much in South Korea as it is outside the country.”

“The iPhone is already changing the pricing dynamic. KT will offer three iPhone models under monthly usage plans with charges ranging from 45,000 won to 95,000 won, or about $40 to $80. Depending on which plan is chosen, the iPhone’s price ranges from $342 to free,” Ramstad reports. “Samsung responded this week by making its Omnia2 phone free for people who buy an $80 monthly plan on SK Telecom Co., one of KT’s rivals. It cut the $900 price on other plans to around $300.”

“The iPhone’s arrival will also end the control that South Korea’s cellphone makers and carriers, including KT, have had on the software that runs on phones. Applications for iPhone will be available through Apple’s online service or directly from software makers,” Ramstad reports. “‘The most appealing part of iPhone is the variety of applications,’ says Lee Jae-gon, a Seoul businessman who pre-ordered one. ‘In the case of the domestic phones, you only use programs that are pre-installed on them.'”

Full article here.