South Korean telecommunication regulators waived a restriction on Wednesday that was blocking sales of the iPhone in the country, clearing the way for cell carrier KTC to prepare for its official launch.
A restriction that prohibits location based services on mobile phones, such as the iPhone's Google Maps application and MobileMe's Find My iPhone feature, has been preventing KTC from selling the combination iPod and smartphone, even though it has already signed a deal with Apple. The restriction is in place, according to China View, to help protect user privacy in South Korea.
The regulation was waived for Apple after the government determined the impact on privacy would be limited since user identities couldn't be singled out through the iPhone's location based services.
The process of bringing the iPhone to South Korea has been slow and Apple and KTC have been working for months to get the iPhone into the country. The last major hurdle they overcame was in December 2008 when South Korea dropped a regulation that forced all cell phones to run government-provided software for Internet access.
KTC can begin selling the iPhone after the government issues Apple a special license, which is expected to happen sometime in the next few days.