SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s three major mobile carriers are scaling back promotional benefits for the launch of iPhone 8 smartphones later this week, industry sources said Tuesday, amid subdued interest for the handset.
U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. has said it will start sales of the iPhone 8 in South Korea on Friday with preorders kicking off last week. Sales numbers, however, have been hurt by some units suffering from swelling batteries as well as people waiting a little longer to buy the iPhone X.
South Korea’s No. 2 mobile carrier KT Corp. said Friday the first batch of 50,000 units of iPhone 8s allocated for preorder sold out in some 30 minutes, a slower pace than preorders for the iPhone 7. Last year’s flagship sold out in 15 minutes.
KT said it will invite 100 customers who made preorders to an event at KT Square in downtown Seoul on Friday and provide the first subscriber with a one-year free use coupon and an Apple Watch Series 3 as gifts worth 1.5 million won (US$1,336). This is smaller than the 2.3 million won in gifts provided last year.
SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s top mobile carrier, said it has reduced the number of invitees to 40 this year from 150 last year. SK will give a MacBook Air worth 1.5 million won to one of the invitees and an iPad Pro worth 1 million won to another this year.
In 2016, SK gave away a tour voucher worth 2 million won to the first subscriber and a bag worth 1 million won to the second subscriber.
South Korea’s No. 3 mobile carrier LG Uplus Corp. is also expected to scale down the size of events and gifts this year, a company official said. LG provided 600,000 won worth of gifts to the first subscriber of the iPhone 7 last year.
Preorders made for iPhone 8 since Friday were about 70 percent those made for iPhone 7 last year, industry sources said.
“We’ve reduced the local launch events as the popularity for the iPhone 8 preorders is not really high,” a source said, noting the preorders for iPhone 7 were nearly double those of the previous model.