Sunday, May 16, 2010

The "Smart-Phone Wars" in Korea

A recent article in The Korea Times notes that "smartphones may get more pricey."  Wireless carriers are worried that the governments attempt to limit their marketing expenses (see my previous post) could cool the smartphone boom by making the devices more expensive.  SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile-phone carrier with a 50-percent-plus share in subscribers, spent an amount equivalent to 27 percent of its revenue last year on marketing expenses, while the number was 33.5 percent for KT and 30.6 percent for LG Telecom, the smallest carrier.
HTC's recently released Desire, which is generating significant buzz among the handsets powered by the Google-backed Android operating system, is priced at around 900,000 won out of the factory. But SK Telecom's handset subsides have the phones sold to customers at around 300,000 won, although the exact price depends on the monthly data plans they choose.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is reportedly considering adopting a ceiling for the handset subsidies, limiting the amount to around 250,000 to 270,000 won per device. 

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