SEOUL — Smartphones now account for more than half of all South Korea's mobile phones following the iPhone's belated debut in the tech-savvy country in late 2009, according to industry figures.
According to the data from the three telecom companies, the number of smartphone subscribers hit 26.77 million late last week, 50.9 percent of the total 52.55 million mobile phone users.
"The wide popularity of smartphones has transformed not only our daily lives but also society in general," said Seok Je-Beom, director at Korea Communications Commission, on Tuesday.
"It adds innovations to how work gets done in companies as well as creating new markets," he said.
South Koreans were introduced to smartphones relatively late, with Apple's iPhone approved only in September 2009 because of privacy concerns over some of its features.
Since then they have been growing at lightning speed, with free wireless networks and cutting-edge gadgets widely available.
South Korea is one of the world's most wired societies, with 95 percent of homes using broadband Internet. It also has the world's top Internet download speeds, according to a study released by Pando Networks.
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