Even with KT’s official announcement involving the delay in launching the new iPhone 4 here, speculations continue to grow over why South Korea was left off of Apple’s list of 17 countries receiving the new model on July 30.
KT, the exclusive provider of the iPhone in Korea, said Sunday: “Initially, KT was scheduled to launch the iPhone 4 in July. However, because it is taking longer to prepare for regulatory approval, KT will now launch the iPhone 4 in the coming months.”
A KT official said the company is expecting to release the new model in the upcoming one to two months, following a government approval process such as testing of the radio wave usage.
The exact date of the launch, however, was yet to be known as KT or Apple has not filed the request for the government’s testing as of Sunday, according to Lee Tae-hee, spokesman for the state-run Korea Communications Commission.
“Neither KT or Apple has requested the government to examine and approve the usage of radio wave on the new wireless device iPhone 4, which is necessary for the commercial selling of the device” he said. “KT officials have noted that they have not made the request since they’re currently processing their own examinations (ahead of the government approval).”
As soon as the news about the delay in the launch of iPhones was released, hundreds of postings flooded the social networking sites, especially by people who were eagerly waiting for the new model.
“How am I supposed to wait another one or two months again?” Lee Seung-ha, a university student who lives in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
Some speculated the delay was due to lobbying of local electronic giant Samsung, which is the producer of the currently popular smartphone Galaxy S, while some others guessed that there was misunderstanding between KT and Apple on the current status of the new iPhone launch.
KT believed it could win the government’s approval before releasing the new phone by late July, while Apple did not wish to move further without the government’s authorization, observers say.
What is fueling additional controversy is that KT was reportedly unaware of South Korea’s omission from the July launch list until the time of announcement.
Pyo Hyun-myung, president of the mobile business group at KT, was seemingly unaware of the news as he had retweeted, or forwarded information online about what iPhone 4 users should know about their to-be-launched new models Friday, shortly before Apple’s announcement.
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs had said in a press conference in California Saturday, local time, that South Korea was omitted from the July 30 group because of “a delay in receiving government approval” without giving further details.
By Cho Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)