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iPhone 12 heats up 5G competition in South Korea

The launch of iPhone 12 in South Korea is expected to heat up competition in the country's 5G phone market which has so far been dominated by local tech giants, such as Samsung and LG.

South Korea commercialised the 5G network in April last year as the first in the world.

Analysts expect migration to 5G in the local market to pick up with the release of the new iPhone, considering Apple's popularity in South Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.

"With the launch of strategic 5G phones, monthly user growth in the network is expected to reach one million," Hana Investment analyst Kim Hong-sik said in a report.

There were 8.7 million 5G mobile accounts in the country as of August, up 8,00,000 from the previous month, which accounted for 12.4 per cent of South Korea's total 70 million mobile subscriptions.

Apple held the second spot in the local smartphone market in the second quarter of the year with a 19 per cent share, behind Samsung at 67 per cent, according to industry tracker Counterpoint Research.

The US tech giant's new iPhone 12 mini and the Pro Max models, also announced during its product unveil event in October, is expected to be available for preorders later this year in the local market.

Local telecom operators in the country have aggressively promoted Apple's devices since the iPhone 12 and its high-end Pro model became available for preorder on October 23.

SK Telecom Co., the country's largest wireless provider, started delivering preorders for the new iPhone to 3,500 buyers.

Another telecom giant, KT Corp., also held an online launch event on Thursday night, featuring popular local YouTubers.

The carrier has partnered with Netflix Inc. to release a new payment plan that bundles the popular video streaming service in line with the launch of the new iPhone.

Rival carrier LG Uplus also held a launch event at its flagship store in southern Seoul..