iPhone 5 launching in 50 countries in Dec

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net
Apple has confirmed it will launch the iPhone 5 in more than 50 new countries this month, starting in South Korea.
 
In anticipation of the device's South Korean debut, regulators are meanwhile instructing operators not to offer excessive subsidies on the device, in violation of local law.
 
Apple yesterday announced that the iPhone 5 will go on sale in South Korea this Friday.
 
The following Friday, the device will debut in 34 more countries, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan. On December 21, the iPhone 5 will be available in a further 20 markets including Vietnam.
 
Days before the planned South Korean launch, regulator KCC has warned KT and SK Telecom it will from December 7 be investigating the operators for signs of illegal subsidies, Korea Times reported
 
KCC has threatened to come down hard on the operators if they are offering illegal subsidies to attract more customers.
 
The regulator in 2010 imposed a cap of 270,000 won ($249) on smartphone subsidies, as well as a limit on promotions spending amounting to 22% of total revenues.
 
The measures were aimed at stopping the industry from destroying its own profit margins in the name of competition, and preventing KT and SK Telecom from using their superior financial position to put the squeeze on smaller rival LG Uplus.
 
But according to the Times, operators are offering discounts of around 414,000 won ($382) for 16GB iPhone 5 pre-orders for new customers agreeing to switch carriers.
 
The paper also quotes a retailer and an SK Telecom official hinting that operators are likely to continue offering hefty iPhone 5 subsidies in defiance of the KCC's threats.
 
This appears to be partly because they fear rivals will do the same, and partly because they view the LTE-enabled iPhone 5 as key to drawing more 4G subscribers as they race for LTE dominance.

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