Korea's telecommunication giant KT said that it's been in talks with Google and LG Electronics in an attempt to sell Google's latest budget phone ― the Nexus 4 ― to Korean customers.
Google partnered with LG Electronics for the Nexus phone. The mobile, which has been selling well since its debut, is priced at half of LG Electronics' strategic Optimus G smartphone with 16GB model, which is selling for $349 per unit without contract. The retail price for the G smartphone is 999,000 won or some $850.
''For local consumers, KT is asking our partners to give permission to sell the Nexus 4 smartphone via online. KT has released Nexus 1, 2 and 3,'' KT President Pyo Hyun-myung wrote on his twitter page, early Tuesday.
The executive, who is the right-hand man of chairman and CEO Lee Suk-chae, declined to elaborate further.
''As the Nexus 4 has advanced hardware specifications with competitive pricing, LG is showing its passive stance towards the Nexus in South Korea,'' said an LG Electronics official.
LG Electronics had initial discussions with KT over the release of the Nexus 4. However, the talks have been stalled because the firms held different views about the issue, the LG official said.
Kim San, a spokesman for Seoul-based LG, declined to comment, while the head of communications for Google Korea Lois Kim wasn't available for comment.
''Because the Nexus 4 is supporting 3G mobile technology, the release of the Nexus is against market and carriers' interest. LTE, which is short for the long-term evolution, is the key criteria for mobile carriers and handset manufacturers because they charge more to consumers by selling highly-priced LTE-enabled phones,'' said another LG Electronics official by telephone.
A growing number of local consumers want to buy the Google reference smartphone because smartphones are very expensive in Korea with local consumers paying 30 percent more for Samsung's latest Galaxy S3 smartphone, for example, than consumers in the United States, according to market research firms.