South Korea opens handset market

The Korean Communications Commission (KCC) has decided to overturn the ban on the sale of data-enabled phones which don't conform to the WIPI software standard.

Vendors had been required to use the local WIPI standard on any data phone developed for the market, effectively meaning products such as the iPhone were banned from sale.

But according to the Korea Times, the KCC has ruled to strike this requirement, recognising that the industry is moving towards the use of general-purpose mobile operating systems. 

The ban will be lifted in three months, to avoid "shocking" the domestic electronics industry, the KCC has announced.

The WIPI standard was originally developed to enforce interoperability between handsets, to help mobile content providers avoid redeveloping their applications for each different carrier. It had been designed to run both BREW and Java applications.

Both KTF and SK Telecom have expressed an interest in introducing the iPhone to their handset line-ups once the ban is overturned.

SK Telecom intends to release Blackberry handsets, which will presumably be WIPI-compliant, by the end of the year.