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LG Uplus in talks with Apple for CDMA iPhone

LG Uplus Corp., the smallest mobile- phone operator in Korea, said it is in talks with Apple Inc. to offer the CDMA iPhone in the domestic market. LG Uplus is negotiating about a change to the electronic circuits to make CDMA iPhones for the company, senior vice president Choi Joo-sick said on a conference call, available on the company’s website.

The company said Friday that its third-quarter earnings tumbled 94.9 percent from a year ago on increased marketing expenses.

Net profit stood at 7.2 billion won ($6.52 million) in the July-September period, compared with 142.1 billion won a year earlier, it said in a regulatory filing.

Sales rose 6.2 percent from a year ago to 2.06 trillion won in the same period, and operating profit reached 23.8 billion won, down 86.8 percent.

LG Uplus attributed the earnings plunge to the depreciated value of its assets, as well as higher spending on marketing as competition heated up in the local wireless market with the introduction of smartphones.

Its marketing costs rose 11.6 percent from a year ago to 440.6 billion won in the third quarter.

The mobile operator accounts for 17.9 percent of Korea’s wireless market. Its bigger rival SK Telecom Co. controls 50.7 percent, and KT Corp., the exclusive distributor of Apple Inc.’s iPhone in the country, accounts for 31.4 percent, according to government data.

(From news reports)
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