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Sales of Apple’s iPhone 4S stall in South Korea as handset is deemed ‘uncompetitive’

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:36PM EST

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Sales of Apple’s iPhone 4S have reportedly been surprisingly slow in South Korea, where wireless customers are reportedly disappointed with the phone’s poor performance and lack of features. The Korea Times on Wednesday said that customers are passing on the iPhone due to problems with the phone’s battery life and the lack of support for 4G LTE. The paper reports that pre-sales of the iPhone 4S have totaled between 150,000 and 300,000 units combined at SK Telecom and Korea Telecom, citing unnamed carrier officials in stating that a number of pre-orders have recently been cancelled. Read on for more.

“I dropped my plan to buy the iPhone 4S. It’s not wholly-new and also there are big problems relating to hardware-related issues,” one iPhone 4 owner told The Korea Times. “I am a big Apple fan. But I’m very disappointed by the uncompetitive iPhone 4S.” Local press and customers in the region have been vocal in complaining that the new iPhone failed to meet their high expectations.

The report also cites the iPhone 4S’ lack of 4G LTE compatibility as a barrier to the handset’s success. Many South Korean cell phone users seemingly have a need for speed that outweighs any desire they might have for the Apple handset. “The key point is how Korean carriers effectively manage LTE networks to attract more clients,” a mobile phone shop owner said. “Since LTE is new, there are also complaints about its quality. If LTE services do well, then more people will switch as carriers give more subsidies to customers who buy LTE smartphones.”

“Except for the ‘Siri’ function, I didn’t find any wow factors about the iPhone 4S and that’s why I decided to buy Samsung’s LTE smartphone,” one man complained. “Also Siri doesn’t support Korean language and that means the iPhone 4S is technically the same as the iPhone 4. Why should I pay more to buy the same thing? It’s nonsense to purchase the 4S just to show my personal tribute to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs”

Internationally, Apple’s latest iPhone has seen record sales following its launch. Apple announced that it sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S handsets during the device’s debut weekend, making it the fastest-selling smartphone in history despite launching in just seven markets.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.