On iPhone's carrier lock, int'l warranty, etc.

Some interesting claims have been raised about various things related to iPhones on a local forum, so I'd like to lay out what I know of this subject.

On the eve of the official sale of iPhone 6, there was a claim that the differentiating factor of the two different models (iPhone 6+: A1522 & A1524, iPhone 6: A1549 & A1586) lied in whether it was unlocked in the first place or not. The A1586 and A1524 models were supposedly the unlocked ones, as it basically covers all LTE bands around the world, and thus being a "world phone" of sorts.

The truth is, iPhones being locked to a carrier or not never really depended on a specific model number. Let's see the A1584 / A1524 first. They're going to be sold by the three telecom companies in Japan.

[iPhone LTE Information]

The Japanese carriers are known to apply carrier locks to the models sold on contracts, while the Japanese Apple Stores also carry the unlocked ("SIM-Free") versions as well. So, those models would have both carrier locked and unlocked versions.

Now let's take a look at the A1549 / A1522.

Verizon and T-Mobile in the United States have the phones unlocked, in terms of GSM/WCDMA. For AT&T, if you're buying at a discounted price on contract, carrier lock will apply. In Canada, the Apple Stores have the unlocked versions.

So the iPhones may be locked or not regardless of the model number. Model numbers are tied to what carriers they will be sold from.

As for Korea, I predict that the A1586 / A1524 will be the ones to be released, if iPhone 5S is any indication. For the 5 and 5S models, the ones released in Hong Kong subsequently saw light in Korea. A1586 / A1524 are to be released in Hong Kong in the cases of iPhone 6/6+.

The models released in Korea have been unlocked since iPhone 4S regardless of whether it was sold by a carrier or not, so iPhone 6/6+ will be no different.

As for the Korean wireless certification issues in terms of import regulations, some considerations are needed. The certification is done by the model number, so once the process completes (Apple Korea applied for the certification on September 11), the iPhone 6/6+ models sold in places like Japan or Hong Kong should technically be certified as well.

But since the KCC certification logo may be missing on the back, you may have to provide the proof of the certification and the model number on the phone should import process stall. There's an exemption for personal import of one uncertified device per person, but this is indeed for the uncertified ones, so it couldn't be used against importing a certified one. But if this doesn't solve the issue, it's not clear how to go about it since there aren't many reports relating to this.

For service & repair, iOS devices come with local warranties by default. This is pointed out on the warranty itself.

[Apple iOS Hardware Warranty]

"Apple may restrict warranty service for iPhone and iPad to the country where Apple or its Authorized Distributors originally sold the device."

This appears on the other countries' versions as well. In fact, even the Hong Kong versions of iPhones, which bear the same model numbers as the Korean counterparts, have often been reported to have the repairs turned down in Korea.

There is a mention on the information on the unlocked version that, if you want to use it overseas you should get that version. But this is because you can use the local SIM card while traveling. Carrier-locked version prevents that. The Japanese version of the information was less than clear on that, but the Canadian version was better worded.

About the Unlocked iPhone (Japan)

"่ค‡ๆ•ฐๅนดใฎใ‚ตใƒผใƒ“ใ‚นๅฅ‘็ด„ใ‚’็ตใณใŸใใชใ„ๅ ดๅˆใ‚„ใ€ๆตทๅค–ใงๅœฐๅ…ƒใฎ้€šไฟกไบ‹ๆฅญ่€…ใ‚’ไฝฟใ„ใŸใ„ๅ ดๅˆใฏใ€SIMใƒ•ใƒชใƒผใฎiPhoneใ‚’้ธใถใ“ใจใ‚’ใŠใ™ใ™ใ‚ใ—ใพใ™ใ€‚"
"If you don't want a multiyear service contract, or if you want to use a local carrier overseas, the SIM-Free iPhone is recommended."

About the Unlocked iPhone (Canada)

"If you donโ€™t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice."

In other words, Apple never said "if you bought the phone from overseas and bring it home, you can ask for a repair locally" on that page. If you could get one repaired, then you were lucky, not because the policy allowed it to happen.

Cellphone frequency in Korea: 1996 - 2000

On January 1, 1996, KMTC became the first company in the world to commercially operate the digital CDMA (2G) cellular service. Shinsegi Telecom(์‹ ์„ธ๊ธฐํ†ต์‹ ; STI) followed up with its own CDMA service on April 1 of the same year. The allocated frequencies were the same as AMPS, and existing AMPS service would be gradually transitioned to CDMA, as per Ministry of Information and Communication (์ •๋ณดํ†ต์‹ ๋ถ€; MIC) Notice No.1995-83(Jun. 15, 1995). AMPS network in Korea was shut down on December 31, 1999.

STI used the same 800MHz band that KMTC used for CDMA. This is because it was allocated a portion of the band originally used by KMTC: 835 - 845MHz uplink and 880 - 890MHz downlink for 10MHz each way. STI never offered AMPS and started its operation exclusively on CDMA.

Meanwhile, Korean government wanted a full-scale competitive telecommunication market, so it decided to introduce Personal Communications Service (PCS) based on the same CDMA technology used by cellular phones. Through MIC Notice No.1995-160(Oct. 30, 1995), the 1800MHz band (1750 - 1780MHz uplink, 1840 - 1870MHz downlink for 30MHz each) was allocated for this purpose.

As for the PCS carriers, three were selected on June 10, 1996: Korea Telecom Freetel (ํ•œ๊ตญํ†ต์‹ ํ”„๋ฆฌํ…”; KTF), Hansol PCS(ํ•œ์†”PCS), and LG Telecom (LGํ…”๋ ˆ์ฝค; LGT; currently LG Uplus). KTF and Hansol PCS were ultimately absorbed by KT later. As per MIC Notice No.1997-27(Feb. 21, 1997), the band was divided into A, B, and C bands, 10MHz each, and allocated A to KTF, B to Hansol PCS, and C to LG Telecom. Commercial PCS networks went online on October 1, 1997.

The shape of the industry was kept more or less like this until the year 2000, when a sea of changes like the selection of IMT-2000 operators and various mergers transformed the landscape. As a side note, dialing codes for each carriers were 011 for SK Telecom(KMTC), 017 for Shinsegi Telecom, 016 for KTF, 018 for Hansol PCS, and 019 for LG Telecom.

[Frequency Allotment 1996 - 2000]

CDMA (2G) - Cellular
SKT #1: Uplink 824 - 835MHz (11MHz) / Downlink 869 - 880MHz (11MHz)
SKT #2: Uplink 845 - 849MHz (4MHz) / Downlink 890 - 894MHz (4MHz)
STI: Uplink 835 - 845MHz (10MHz) / Downlink 880 - 890MHz (10MHz)

KTF: Uplink 1750 - 1760MHz (10MHz) / Downlink 1840 - 1850MHz (10MHz)
Hansol: Uplink 1760 - 1770MHz (10MHz) / Downlink 1850 - 1860MHz (10MHz)
LGT: Uplink 1770 - 1780MHz (10MHz) / Downlink 1860 - 1870MHz (10MHz)
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Cellphone frequency in Korea: 1984 - 1995

On December 10, 1981, South Korea's Ministry of Communications (์ฒด์‹ ๋ถ€) separated the telecommunication sector from itself to form a public corporation called Korea Telecom (ํ•œ๊ตญ์ „๊ธฐํ†ต์‹ ๊ณต์‚ฌ; currently KT Corporation) in order to modernize telecommunication service. And then, this company created a subsidiary called Korea Mobile Telecommunications Services Corporation (KMTSC; ํ•œ๊ตญ์ด๋™ํ†ต์‹ ์„œ๋น„์Šค(์ฃผ); currently SK Telecom) on March 29, 1984, to manage mobile telecommunication sector. In May of the same year, it started the "car phone" service based on the analog AMPS (1G) cellular phone technology around the Seoul metropolitan area. This marked the beginning of the mobile phone service in Korea.

The frequencies used at the time was 824 - 849MHz uplink and 869 - 894MHz downlink, which was 25MHz bandwidth each way. This is outlined in the Ministry of Communications Notice No.43 (May 9, 1991). KMTSC changed its name to Korea Mobile Telecommunications Corporation (KMTC; ํ•œ๊ตญ์ด๋™ํ†ต์‹ (์ฃผ)) as it was selected as a public common carrier on April 30, 1988. Nationwide AMPS network was set up by the end of 1991.

In 1994, a big restructuring effort was put into the telecommunications sector. In January, Sunkyong Group (์„ ๊ฒฝ๊ทธ๋ฃน; currently SK Group) took over KMTC and privatized it by purchasing 24% of its stocks. Shinsegi Telecom Inc.(์‹ ์„ธ๊ธฐํ†ต์‹ (์ฃผ); STI), which was selected to be the 2nd mobile carrier in Korea and had POSCO as its largest shareholder, was founded on May 2. This established the competitive market for mobile phone services.

Interestingly, Sunkyong Group was originally selected as the 2nd mobile carrier in 1992, but its CEO an in-law to the then-president Roh Tae-woo, sparking preferential treatment controversy. It relinquished the rights on August 27 of that year. It ended up entering the telecommunications market by buying up the 1st mobile carrier instead. KMTC changed its name to SK Telecom on March 1997 is called by that name to this day.

[Frequency Allotment 1984 - 1995]

KMTC: Uplink 824 - 849MHz / Downlink 869 - 894MHz
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3G๋ง VoIP ํ†ตํ™” ์ฐจ๋‹จ๋…ธ๋ ฅ์˜ '๋ถˆํŽธํ•œ ์ง„์‹ค'

"์Šค๋งˆํŠธํฐ ๊ณต์งœํ†ตํ™” ํŽธ๋ฒ• ํŒ์นœ๋‹ค"
"KT ํƒˆ์˜ฅํฐ, ์•„์ดํฐ ์Œ์„ฑ ํ†ตํ™” ๋ง‰๋Š”๋‹ค"

์œ„์˜ ์ œ๋ชฉ์œผ๋กœ ๋ฏธ๋””์–ด๋‹ค์Œ์— ๋œฌ ๊ธฐ์‚ฌ์— ๋Œ“๊ธ€์ด ํญ๋ฐœ์ ์ด์ฃ . ๋ฏธ๋””์–ด๋‹ค์Œ์—์„œ ๋ฆฌํ”Œ ์ˆ˜ ๋งŽ์€ ๊ธฐ์‚ฌ๋Š” ์ฃผ๋กœ...

- MB ๊ด€๋ จ ์†Œ์‹
- ๊ธฐ์ž๊ฐ€ ์ด์ƒํ•œ ์†Œ๋ฆฌ๋ฅผ ์ ๊ฑฐ๋‚˜ ์ „๋‹ฌํ•œ ๊ฒƒ

์•„... ๋‘˜ ๋‹ค ์ด์ƒํ•œ ์†Œ๋ฆฌ์ด๊ธด ํ•˜๊ฒ ๊ตฐ์š”. ์•„๋ฌดํŠผ. ์ด๋ฒˆ ๊ธฐ์‚ฌ๋„ ํ›„์ž์— ์†ํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.

VoIPํ†ตํ™”, ์ฆ‰ ์‰ฌ์šด ๋ง๋กœ '์ธํ„ฐ๋„ท ์ „ํ™”'๋ฅผ 3G๋ง, ์ฆ‰ ํœด๋Œ€ํฐ ๋ฐ์ดํ„ฐํ†ต์‹ ๋ง์—์„œ ํ•˜๋Š” ๊ฒƒ์ด ๋ถˆ๋ฒ•์ด๋‹ค, ์ฐจ๋‹จํ•˜๊ฒ ๋‹ค๋Š” ์š”์ง€์˜ ๊ธฐ์‚ฌ๋“ค์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.

ํŠธ์œ„ํ„ฐ์—์„œ ์ด๋ฏธ ์ ์–ด๋†จ์ง€๋งŒ, ํ†ต์‹ ์‚ฌ์—์„œ 3G๋ง์˜ VoIP ํ†ตํ™”๋ฅผ ํŽธ๋ฒ•์ด๋‚˜ ๋ถˆ๋ฒ•์œผ๋กœ ๊ฐ„์ฃผํ•˜๋Š” ๋ฐ ์žˆ์–ด์„œ ๊ธฐ๋ณธ์ ์œผ๋กœ 2๊ฐ€์ง€๋ฅผ ์ œ์‹œํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.

1. 3G๋ง ์‚ฌ์šฉ๋Ÿ‰ ํญ์ฆ์— ๋Œ€ํ•œ ์šฐ๋ ค
2. '์Œ์„ฑํ†ตํ™” ์ˆ˜์ต' ์•…ํ™”์— ๋Œ€ํ•œ ๋ถˆ์พŒ๊ฐ

๊ทธ์— ๋”ฐ๋ผ, SKT๋Š” ์ด๋ฏธ ์Šค์นด์ดํ”„๋ฅผ ์ฐจ๋‹จํ•˜๊ณ  ์žˆ๊ณ , ์–ผ์”จ๊ตฌ๋‚˜ KT๋„ ์ฐจ๋‹จํ•˜๋Ÿฌ ๋“ค์–ด๊ฐ€๊ฒ ๋‹ค๊ณ  ์—„ํฌ ๋†“์•˜์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.

๊ทผ๋ฐ ๋‘˜ ๋‹ค ๋ง์ด ์•ˆ๋ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.
Continue reading "3G๋ง VoIP ํ†ตํ™” ์ฐจ๋‹จ๋…ธ๋ ฅ์˜ '๋ถˆํŽธํ•œ ์ง„์‹ค'"

Thoughts on Apple's iPad tablet

The newly announced Apple iPad (Image courtesy of Apple)

Everyone's talking about the much-rumoured, and now much-talked-about Apple tablet, the iPad. Let me have my take on the device, relating to how it'll play out in Korea.

1. The 3G-enabled version will cost you $30/month on AT&T's network

The deal includes free use of AT&T's WiFi hotspots as well. This means it could be used practically anywhere with persistent internet connection. Plus, the device is unlocked out of the box, and the deal does not need a contract. KT, which introduced iPhone to its cellphone network in Korea, should follow this model, and match or best the pricing, although the price range for unlimited data is strikingly similar to what KT already offers for its Wibro modems. Which leads to my next point...

2. Apple plans to roll out the 3G-enabled model internationally around or after June

KT had been rumoured to be in talks with Apple to bring out a new Apple device by June, and everyone speculated that it'd be iPhone 4G. Well, looking at this iPad's planned timeline, it seems that the device in question was really iPad, not iPhone. Talks about iPhone 4G should be taken over by how KT should roll out 3G-enabled iPad in Korea, namely what sort of data plan it should introduce.

3. Pricing and app compatibility shows that it's targeting the netbook market

The base model with WiFi and 16GB storage is tagged at $499, which is about how much a mid-range netbook runs for these days. Meanwhile, iPad chose to be compatible with iPod instead of Mac. Mac's presence in PC market is insignificant, but iPod/iPhone platform is the biggest player in PDA/smartphone application market, so it seems logical that Apple wanted to ride on that wave.

Netbooks rely on PC (mostly desktop Windows) apps, but because of the poor performance, they are mostly relegated to casual web browsing. But iPad will absorb the responsive and lightweight apps developed for iPod/iPhone, so the choice to forgo desktop apps will pay off well. If iPad was a tablet version of Macbook, they could never have made the price point, nor the battery life (iPad will run for 10 hours on single charge), making the device an odd man out, much like how the previous tablet PC attempts turned out to be.

Another thing I'm expecting iPad to be huge in Korea is this - with the introduction of iPhone, a flurry of internet banking, day trading, and online shopping apps are soon to come out for the platform. Due to the special nature of the 'Korean internet', those things have not been possible for the most part on Macs, and the platform was largely neglected. But iPad will ride on the back of the iPhone, realizing the dreams Korean Mac owners had for years.

4. iPad is touting a new form factor in portable game console market

This one is a bit ambiguous. iPhone has lots of games that make the platform a good competitor to Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. iPad can make use of those games, as well as new games targeted specifically for itself. But to play a game holding a tablet the size of an A5 sheet? I'm not completely sold on the idea yet. I hope the game developers will come up with some innovative ideas.

There you have it. Looks like I'll be getting one in half a year, after I sell my notebooks.

Copyright (C) 1996-2018 Wesley Woo-Duk Hwang-Chung. All rights reserved.