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Despite concerns the recent devastating earthquake in Japan may disrupt component supplies for Apple Inc.'s (APPL) iPad2 tablet devices, South Korea's KT Corp. (KTC) Wednesday said it plans to sell the second-generation iPad in the Asian country from next month.
KT's hometown rival and the country's largest mobile carrier, SK Telecom Co. (017670.SE), said it's actively considering offering the tablet device in the domestic market.
From April, SK Telecom will begin selling four tablet computer models, including Motorola Mobility Holdings' Xoom, Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab devices and LG Electronics' Optimus Pad.
Neither Korean mobile operator provided pricing details or data plans for their upcoming offerings.
As global tablet manufacturers strive to produce tablets that stand out against rivals' products, competition among mobile carriers has also been hotting up as they seek bigger profits from wireless data service sales.
Apple has said it will proceed with plans to begin selling its second-generation iPad in 25 countries later this week, after delaying its introduction in Japan because of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
The Cupertino, Calif., gadget maker has also said the iPad2 will be available in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and additional countries next month.
According to a recent report from a research firm IHS iSuppli, the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake may cause logistical disruptions and supply shortages for Apple's iPad2, which uses several components manufactured in the disaster-stricken country, including the electronic compass, battery and the advanced technology glass in the display.
"(Some component) suppliers are expected to encounter difficulties in getting raw materials supplied and distributed as well as in shipping out products," the research firm said.
According to research firm International Data Corp., nearly 18 million tablets were shipped last year and manufacturers are on track to ship 50 million tablets in 2011. Apple has so far dominating the market with an 83% share of the tablet market last year and is expected to maintain a 70% to 80% market share throughout 2011, IDC said.
-By Jung-Ah Lee, Dow Jones Newswires; 822-3700-1907; firstname.lastname@example.org