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The iPhone-esque Luna is the latest challenger in the midrange smartphone market

SK Telecom, South Korea's biggest mobile carrier, will release its first smartphone on September 4.

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SK Telecom

As Samsung, Apple and a few other key players duke it out on the premium smartphone battlefield, the war for supremacy in the rapidly growing budget and midrange markets is becoming increasingly intense. And now there's one more contender -- South Korea's largest mobile carrier, SK Telecom.

The company will release the Luna, its first handset, on Friday. The phone will retail for roughly $340 (400,000 won).

The price point is slightly above that of usual midrange fare, but so are the specs. The Luna, which bares a striking resemblance to Apple's iPhone 6, is equipped with a 5.5-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel screen, 3GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 16GB of internal storage.

The Korean mobile company's move shows how lucrative the midrange phone market has become. Although the Galaxy series and the iPhone have made Samsung and Apple the two top dogs in the smartphone industry, some may be surprised to know that the world's fourth-largest handset maker is Chinese company Xiaomi, best known for its sub-$300 Mi range of smartphones.

SK Telecom isn't the only company to recently join the midrange race, as last month former Apple CEO John Sculley revealed the Obi Worldphone. Retailing at $249 and $199, Sculley created the SF1 and SJ1.5 to take advantage of emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

It remains to be seen how the Luna will fare in its home country of South Korea where, unlike China and India, users have traditionally opted for high-end devices from local companies Samsung and LG, as well as America's Apple.