Tuesday, January 08, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, January 3 2007] Handset Makers Bet On Budget Phones

Korea's mobile phone makers are adopting low-price strategies in their efforts to dominate the local and overseas markets. At home they're selling handsets for almost nothing through subsidy programs, and overseas they're introducing reasonably-priced phones costing around US$100.

Samsung Electronics' Anycall SCH-W330 and SPH-W3300 phones released last month are now available for between W1 and W1,000 (US$1=W933) from some resellers and online retailers. Other models, including the Anycall SCH-W290 and SPH W2900 phones, worth around W400,000, can also be found for W1 to W1,000, as can LG Electronics' Cyon SH170 phone.

The low prices are possible through subsidy programs through which Korea's two leading mobile operators, SK Telecom and KTF, offer subsidies of around W400,000 to attract more subscribers. These handsets are 3G wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) phones with some high-tech features more typical of premium models. They include video calling, high speed data transmission, wireless Internet, automatic roaming, digital cameras and Bluetooth.

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