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LG to release 4G smartphone in S. Korea

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- LG Electronics Inc., the beleaguered world's No. 3 mobile-phone maker, said Tuesday that it will launch in South Korea a fourth-generation (4G) smartphone that will run on a faster network.

The company will roll out this week the Optimus LTE smartphone through the leading mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. and the smallest operator LG Uplus Corp., it said.

The Optimus LTE is LG's second smartphone that is compatible with the fourth generation of the wireless technology called long term evolution (LTE). The handset maker released its first LTE smartphone earlier this year in North America, it said.

LG Electronics worked closely with its affiliate LG Display Co.

to build a high-definition screen for the new smartphone, as users are expected to frequently stream videos and other multimedia contents on the faster wireless network.

The Optimus LTE sports a 4.5-inch high-definition screen and a 1.5 gigahertz dual-core processor. The Android-based phone will cost 899,800 won (US$747) without subsidies from carriers, LG said.

The launching schedule for overseas markets is not determined, it added.

LG Electronics joins handset makers like Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan-based HTC Corp. that are launching new smartphones compatible with the 4G wireless technology before Apple Inc. introduces the new iPhone.

Responding to spiking bandwidth demand from data-guzzling smartphone users, SK Telecom and LG Uplus began offering the 4G wireless service in major cities this summer. The operators plan to expand the 4G coverage across the country as early as next year.

Apple is scheduled to hold a media event later in the day, widely expected to serve as a stage for the new iPhone.