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Tuesday, March 08, 2011, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Apple's iPhone 4 coming to Korea's SK Telecom on March 16 [u]

Korean carrier SK Telecom announced earlier this week that it will launch Apple's iPhone 4 on March 16, though reports vary on whether the company will offer the CDMA or GSM version of the handset.

In an official press release on Monday, Korea's largest wireless carrier announced that preorders of Apple's latest smartphone would begin on March 9 before launching one week later on March 16. Pricing details on the handset and related plans are as yet unavailable.

With the launch of the iPhone 4, SK Telecom is poised to recapture market share from rival Korean network KT Corp. Second-place carrier KT Corp. has enjoyed exclusive access to the iPhone since it began selling the iPhone 3GS in late 2009.

Despite intense competition from local electronics giants Samsung and LG, Apple has managed to make inroads into the Korean market. According to one report, KT Corp. sold 60,000 units on the iPhone 3GS launch day. Sales of the device eventual reached more than 1 million units.

Last year, preorders of the iPhone 4 reached 130,000 handsets, overwhelming KT Corp.'s servers.

Update:Though several reports have suggested that SK Telecom will offer the CDMA iPhone 4, it is more likely that the carrier will launch the GSM version, as the network operates an HSPA overlay similar to providers in Canada and Mexico.

However, several other Asian wireless carriers are rumored to begin selling a CDMA iPhone sometime this year. In February, Chinese news outlets claimed that China Telecom is planning a limited Beijing launch of a CDMA-capable iPhone in June. Wall Street analysts expect Indian carrier Reliance to also begin carrying the CDMA iPhone 4 later this year.

Verizon was the first to begin carrying the CDMA iPhone 4. Though some reports had interpreted short launch day lines to mean a muted launch of the handset, Verizon CEO Dan Mead revealed that online sales of the iPhone 4 made it the most successful launch in the company's history.