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High-end smartphones sold in S. Korea more expensive than elsewhere


SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) -- Prices of high-end smartphones sold in South Korea last year were more expensive than elsewhere, data showed Sunday, as phone manufacturers rolled out their newest gadgets to woo tech-savvy consumers here.

According to the data compiled by Gartner Inc., the average selling price of high-end smartphones reached US$643.3 last year, the second-highest among 48 countries and regions surveyed.

The average selling price of premium smartphones in Hong Kong was the highest at $814.6 last year. Taiwan, the U.S. and Poland trailed with $625, $523.5 and $510.8, the data showed.

In 2010 and 2011, the average selling prices of premium smartphones in South Korea reached $405.9 and $406.3, respectively.

The data showed the average selling prices of mid- and low-end smartphones were also the second-highest among the surveyed nations.

The average selling price of such smartphones reached $182.8 last year. The comparable figures for New Zealand, Norway and Denmark were $159.7, $116.8 and $114.4, according to the data.

South Korea's cell phone replacement rate is the highest among major OECD countries as local mobile carriers' fat subsidies and aggressive marketing lure customers to change their gadgets frequently, another report showed.

About 15 million South Koreans, or 28 percent of mobile phone users in the country, replace their handsets every year, according to the report compiled by DigiEco, a research unit of KT Corp.

The mobile replacement rate is the highest among major OECD countries, the report said. South Korea's mobile replacement rate is higher than the 18.1 percent on average by the seven nations, including the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan.

About 9.2 percent of Japanese cell phone users buy new phones every year.

Mobile consumers in Germany and Britain show higher rates of cell phone replacement as compared to other countries. About 27 percent of mobile users in Britain buy new phones every year with the comparable figure for Germany reaching 23.4 percent, according to the report.

South Korea's smartphone population topped the 35-million mark in March and is expected to exceed 40 million by the end of this year. Currently, smartphones account for around 74 percent of all mobile handsets in the country.

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