The Korea Herald


LG smartphones sold for halved prices before announcement on fate of mobile unit

By Song Su-hyun

Published : Feb. 8, 2021 - 15:49

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LG Wing (LG Electronics) LG Wing (LG Electronics)

The last batch of smartphones by LG Electronics -- LG Velvet and LG Wing released last year -- are being sold with massive discounts and subsidies through mobile carriers before the company’s final decision on its planned sale of the smartphone business.

According to the telecom industry Monday, the actual cost of buying an LG Wing, a dual-display smartphone released last September, has been reduced to around 400,000 won ($357) from 1.09 million won, amid sluggish sales. 

Actual prices could go even lower as some telecom firms have raised subsidies for LG phones due to slow sales. 

LG Velvet, nicknamed the “water drop phone” released in May of 2020 with a price tag of 899,800 won, is available even for free through LG Uplus, if buyers choose the most premium mobile plan and receive the maximum subsidy that amounts to 783,000 won and an additional subsidy of around 110,000 won.

LG Uplus, the telecom affiliate of LG Group, offers larger subsidies than the other telecom companies, which seems to be a move to boost the LG phones’ sales.

“They could be the last phones from LG, and prices are likely to fall further as the company is preparing to withdraw from the market,” an official at a Korean telecommunications firm said.

LG had sought to revive its smartphone business with an accumulated deficit of 5 trillion won, with the two models, but losses have continued to mount.

The company reported 841.2 billion won in operating loss of the smartphone unit last year.

Last month, LG announced the company is considering all possible measures to decide on the fate of the mobile business, including an option to hand it over to an outside company.

Vietnamese conglomerate Vin Group is mentioned as a strong candidate for taking over LG’s smartphone business. Microsoft and Google, which have their own smartphone businesses are also potential buyers.

The most feasible scenario is to sell the manufacturing facility for smartphones, while keeping the core mobile technologies that could be utilized for future businesses related to Internet of Things and autonomous driving.

During its earnings call last month, the company underscored, “The mobile technologies are an important asset to smart home appliances and automotive parts.”

By Song Su-hyun (