iPhone 5 launches across Asia today, including Samsung base South Korea

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Apple has dived into the Christmas holiday with aplomb as the iPhone 5 goes on sale today in Asia, three months after its first release.

This represents Apple’s biggest roll-our ever, covering more than 30 countries. Showing a no-holds-barred approach, the iPhone 5 also goes on sale in South Korea, home of its main rival Samsung.

According to a report by Chosun Ilbo, operators SK Telecom and KT had huge events to advertise the Cupertino march into the country, with KT receiving 250 000 pre-orders. “Online pre-orders ended just two hours after we received reservations on December 1, as we immediately racked up 50 000 requests,” an SK executive staffer said.

Meanwhile, Japan’s biggest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo, has reportedly shown a net loss of 40 800 subscribers over the course of November as customers switched over to carriers that have the iPhone as part of its packages.

Currently the iPhone has around three-million users in Seoul, representing only about 11% of the countries more than 30 million smartphone users. Still, that is quite a lot considering that Samsung is the country’s flagship company and the Galaxy range smartphones rule the roost.

Apple will be watching sales tentatively, as an insider in the South Korean mobile industry said: “Sales could be lower than expected, considering that it’s been nearly three months since it was rolled out overseas, and that it faces a stiff challenge from strong rivals like Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy 3 and Galaxy Note 2, LG Electronics’ Optimus G, and Pantech’s Vega R3.”

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