By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 27, 2013 10:44 AM EDT
The earlier news that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was region-locked caused quite a stir among consumers and Samsung decided to issue an official statement to explain it.
For those unfamiliar with the matter, it came to light that the "unlocked" versions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in Europe and the U.S. were not actually so "unlocked" of all restrictions, but was region-locked.
More specifically, the Galaxy Note 3 will only with the SIM cards from carriers in the regions it was purchased from. So far, warning stickers for the devices sold in Europe and the U.S. have appeared, but other parts of the world may experience such region-locking as well.
Many consumers were unpleasantly surprised to learn about this region-locking, and it makes sense. Those who travel abroad would have to use roaming, thus support the implicit charges, because they would not be able to use a local SIM.
Samsung Germany has now issued an official statement (German) explaining the situation. In short, the company acknowledged that Samsung does lock some devices based on the region they were bought from. Aside from the Galaxy Note 3, region-locked devices include the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 Mini.
The statement further notes that this region lock only applies to units manufactured after the end of July 2013, and those units ship with the warning sticker on the box. Devices manufactured previous to that date are not region-locked.
It's also worth mentioning that if a user takes a new phone, before activating it, to a country outside the home region, they can unlock the device for free at a local Samsung service partner.
From what we gather from Samsung's statement, it seems that users would have to register their phone first with a carrier from the home region if their want to use the device outside of said region. Samsung Switzerland confirms the same on its Facebook page.
In other words, those who purchase a Galaxy Note 3 in the UK and activate it there first, should be able to use it with U.S. SIM cards. On the other hand, those who purchase the device in the UK and travel to the U.S. to activate it there for the first time might need to unlock it at a Samsung service center. It remains unclear, however, what happens when users travel to multiple regions. Would they have to unlock their device each time, in each region, to be able to use a local SIM card?
Samsung did not explain why it chose to region-lock its Galaxy devices and did not comment on why it failed to announce this in the first place, instead of just issuing a statement after reports of unpleasant surprises started to pile up. Samsung U.S. is yet to issue a formal statement, but we'll keep you updated when it does.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.