South Korea: No iPhone for YOU!

Published on June 12, 2008
by John Paczkowski

steve_jobs_iphone_2.jpgBy the end of 2009, Apple’s iPhone will be available in 70 nations, but South Korea is not among them. Nor will it be for the foreseeable future, thanks to WIPI (Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability), South Korea’s cellular middleware platform.

The South Korean government requires all cellphones sold in the country to support the WIPI standard. And for Apple (AAPL), as well as other handset manufacturers like Nokia (NOK) and Sony Ericsson (ERIC), redesigning their devices to do so is a costly proposition. So costly, in fact, that they’d rather not bother.

“Korea is not ready,” an Apple Korea rep told the Korea Times. “We have no comment on [the] iPhone matter in Korea; also, there is no plan to release any further information about launching of [the] iPhone in Korea.” And that suits Korea’s mobile phone-makers, Samsung (005930) and LG (066570), just fine. They’re apparently not fond of unnecessary competition.

“Next time you are in Malta and you need an iPhone 3G, it will be there for you,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said earlier this week. But not in South Korea. Plenty of Samsung and LG phones, though. And how ’bout that Samsung Omnia, huh? Almost like the real thing

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