In a report I read today I learnt that WIPI (Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability), a mobile device runtime environment for applications similar to BREW and JAVA, is mandated by the Korean government to be included on any mobile phone sold in Korea that allows Internet access.
An interesting way to prevent companies such as Nokia, SE, Apple and others to sell their devices in Korea. In the past there were only CDMA based 3G networks available in Korea so this technology dispute was mainly between Korea and the US (hello Qualcomm…). As some Korean operators have now transitioned from CDMA to UMTS the issue now gains a more global dimension.
While these UMTS networks now theoretically enable Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple and others to sell their devices in Korea, the WIPI ruling prevents that from happening. But it looks like some operators have become rather unhappy and are asking for lifting the WIPI ruling. Lots of questions poping up here:
- I wonder if there is a black market in Korea for such phones today?
- Not sure if such phones would even be desired at the moment due to the probably missing Korean language integration and also due to the sophistication of LG/Samsung phones.
- Also, I wonder how widely WIPI is used at the moment, is it seen as an integral part by a large user base?
- In case the application environment is very popular I wonder if lifting the WIPI ruling would have an immediate effect if people would not buy devices without it.
Fellow readers in Korea, what do you think?