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Blackberry unveiled in SKorea for corporate use

December 15, 2008
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SEOUL, South Korea—Canada's Research in Motion and South Korea's SK Telecom announced Tuesday the launch of corporate service for the Blackberry Bold smartphone, which will be available in South Korea via a local network for the first time.

The two companies said in a press release that the device was expected to be available on the market by the end of the month. Plans were to target both foreign and domestic companies, it said.

Use of the Blackberry and other foreign smart phones has been hampered by a South Korean rule that required all mobile devices to carry special software adapted to South Korea's wireless Internet platform. An exception to that requirement was made earlier this year, paving the way for the Blackberry Bold's arrival, though so far only corporate customers will be allowed to sign up for service.

The Korean Communications Commission announced last week that the rule will be abolished from April 1, which could entice foreign smart phone makers -- which have shied away because of the extra cost involved in modifying their phones -- to enter South Korea and potentially target retail customers.

The release did not mention whether Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion Ltd. and SK telecom Co., headquartered in Seoul, planned to market the Blackberry to individuals after April 1.

The South Korean mobile device market is dominated by Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc.

Currently, it is not impossible to use a Blackberry in South Korea. Some foreign businesses that operate in the country have set up accounts with providers in Hong Kong and had their employees use them in South Korea by using the roaming function.

Blackberry has partnered with another South Korean company in offering a wireless device used mostly for communciation in the trucking industry.

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