Overwhelming demand for the iPhone 4 took down Korea Telecom (KT) servers during the launch of pre-ordering and resulted in 130,000 units sold in just 13 hours. The device will ship and hit shelves at 2,900 KT stores nationwide in September. Pre-ordering began at 6:00 AM local time, with the first 100k units sold by the end of lunch hour.
In contrast, the iPhone 3GS sold 60,000 units over five days in South Korea when it launched in December 2009. KT is the second largest wireless provider in the country, and although the company increased its web server capacity they did not expect demand to be so strong. Web ordering went down intermittently throughout the day, with traffic swamping the available bandwidth. AT&T and Apple had similar issues with pre-ordering in the US this June.
When the iPhone 4 launched in the US, France, Germany, Japan and the UK, over 600,000 pre-orders were processed on the first day. Many interested parties couldn't communicate with AT&T servers and were surprised to find that pre-ordering was later suspended. The current wait time for an iPhone 4 in the US is three weeks and the white model iPhone 4 has yet to be released.
Apple has sold 850,000 iPhone 3GS models in South Korea since the December launch. Local company Samsung sells what is probably the closest competition to the iPhone in the Galaxy S, which launched in the country two months ago. So far Samsung has reported Galaxy S sales totaling 800,000 in South Korea.KT originally planned to launch the iPhone 4 on June 30, however government regulatory issues delayed the launch. The iPhone 4 is expected to be available in a whopping 87 countries by September, only three months after initial distribution began.