Mobile phones most expensive in South Korea in 2012

South Korea ranks tops for average selling price of handsets at US$415 last year. This was ahead of Japan, followed by Canada, the U.S. and Norway, according to Strategy Analytics.

Mobile phones were most expensive in South Korea in 2012 at US$415 on average.

South Koreans paid the most for mobile phones in 2012 at an average US$415 per device way above the world average of US$166, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

Prices in South Korea are forecast to hover above the US$400-level through 2017, according to the research firm in a report by Yonhap. The country was ahead of Japan at US$390, followed by Canada at US$350, the U.S. with US$323, and Norway at US$281.

The article noted South Korea had the highest mobile phone replacement rate among major OECD countries, due to generous carrier subsidies and aggressive marketing driving customers to change their gadgets frequently. Last December, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) banned telcos from signing up new subscribers as a penalty for exceeding the permited level of handset subsidies.

South Korea has the world's highest mobile phone replacement rate, according to a separate report by Strategy Analytics. It expects the number of South Korean smartphone users replacing their devices in 2013 to increase to 70 percent from 67.8 percent. The figure will, however, gradually drop to 62.9 percent by 2017 because of market saturation in the country, which is home to major smartphone manufacturers Samsung and LG.

It noted last year two thirds, or 67.8 percent, of South Korean smartphone users did so. This exceeded those in Chile, which was second place at 55.5 percent, followed by the United States in third with 55.2 percent,