The Apple iPhone 7 went on sale in South Korea, seeking to fill a void left by arch-rival Samsung on its home turf following a damaging recall fiasco over the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. The South Korean electronics giant discontinued the Galaxy Note 7, one of its key iPhone challengers, on October 11 following reports that replacements for combustible models were also catching fire. The decision is set to cost Samsung billions in lost profits, and there are already signs that Apple is reaping some of the benefits. Also Read - Apple CEO Tim Cook claims iOS is more secure than AndroidAlso Read - Samsung and LG confirm presence at in-person CES 2022
An official at mobile carrier Korea Telecom (KT) said the first batch of 50,000 iPhone 7s they put up for pre-order a week ago sold out in 15 minutes. “I would attribute part of that to the Note 7 effect,” said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Customer defection is one of Samsung’s biggest concerns, especially as the Galaxy Note 7 was specifically aimed at taking on the iPhone in the premium handset market.
In the hope of retaining customer loyalty, Samsung had offered Note 7 users a 70,000 won (USD 60) phone bill credit if they swapped their faulty phones with another Samsung handset. The half-dozen customers buying the new iPhone at a KT store in central Seoul on Friday were all long-time Apple users who had pre-ordered their handsets. Office worker Lee Kyung-Hee, 34, said she had moved fast when the pre-order service opened, fearing a surge of interest from unhappy Note 7 owners. ALSO READ: Samsung to face class action lawsuit in South Korea for Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco
“I set an alarm and was very quick,” Lee said. In South Korea, retail prices for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus start from 869,000 won and 1.02 million won respectively, for their basic 32GB models. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus first impressions: 7 observations after 48 hours