The number of people applying for the new model sharply increased from 40,000 as of 8:55 a.m. to over 60,000 as of 9:45 a.m., KT officials said. It then reached 100,000 people as of 1 p.m., and 130,000 as of 7 p.m.
The country’s No. 2 mobile carrier started taking in applications at its website and its 2,900 shops nationwide beginning at 6 a.m.
The exact date of launch, which is only known as sometime in September, has yet to be specified.
“We will make utmost efforts for the launch and delivery of the new model,” Pyo Hyun-myung, president of the mobile business group at KT, said on his micro-blogging site Twitter.
|Customers sign pre-order forms for the new iPhone 4 as KT Corp, the exclusive provider of|
Apple’s iPhone, started taking in pre-orders at its website and its branch stores beginning
at 6 a.m. Wednesday.(The Korea Herald/Kim Myung-sub)
This is an enormous figure compared to the number of people who made pre-orders for the iPhone 3GS -- 14,500 in the first day and 65,000 in the first five days -- last year.
KT had to expand its server as the company’s pre-ordering website crashed due to the number of people wishing to pre-order.
“I got out of bed to begin making the pre-order request starting at 6 a.m.,” said a customer who successfully got into the first group of the pre-order list. “I’m just so happy that I made it into the first group.”
Some others said they made multiple attempts from different locations -- from home and as soon as they arrived at work -- to get into the sixth and seventh group.
Korean consumers have been waiting for months for the new iPhone 4 after the country was omitted from the July 30 release group.
Since then, KT has been scrambling to bring the new model to the country for the tech-savvy consumers.
Among the reasons for the hurry was that the telecom service provider, which is also the nation’s largest fixed-line operator, also wanted to bring a competitive gadget to the market which could compete with the Android-powered smartphones.
Its rival SK Telecom, the No. 1 local mobile carrier, has been taking the lead in the smartphone market this summer with Galaxy S, manufactured by Samsung. It plans to release more mobile devices powered by the Android operating system in the latter half of this year.
By Cho Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)