Nokia and Microsoft have begun accepting pre-orders for the Lumia 800 in South Korea, according to a report by the Chosunilbo, as the pair look to take advantage of the smartphone boom in the country.

Updated below.

The device will become the first Mango-based phone to arrive in Korea on Monday, December 26, with operator KT Telecom signed up to offer the Windows Phone 7 handset in the country.

Microsoft is rumoured to be testing the device in China, according to reports that emerged this week, and it has always been it and Nokia’s intention to bring the phone to more places in Asia this month, after completed an initial launch in November.

Korean consumers that are looking to buy a new phone now are currently faced with a tough choice. Apple and other foreign companies are as yet unable to provide devices with support for LTE — it’s 4G mobile technology — leaving forced to chose between a fashionable Western device, like an iPhone, or a local LTE-supporting phone.

Korean manufacturer Samsung already offers 4G versions of a number of its smartphones, including the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II HD. While Nokia is reportedly pushing its LTE Lumia range in the US, it is unclear whether, and indeed when, the device might make its way to Korea. Certainly an LTE device would give it a distinct advantage of the iPhone which, as this Korea Herald article points out, is being overlooking by many Koreans for lack of next generation network support.

We’ve contacted Microsoft for clarification of a couple of points and will update this article with the company’s comment.

Update: reports suggest that it is the Lumia 710 and not the Lumia 800 which is launching in South Korea.