“App rescues Galaxy Note 3 from its region lock, but Samsung’s motives remain unclear”

Here’s my take on this:

Someone in Samsung decided to do something about the “problem” of gray imports. Whenever their phones are first released in North America and Europe, the phones are sold by third-parties in Asia for a significantly high markup prior to their local launch there. So they came up with an idea of a “activation” region-lock, whereby the phones must have an american or European SIM first, before it will accept any other SIM (http://goo.gl/U9mhsl).

Unfortunately, they miscommunicated their intentions to the engineering group, who implemented a permanent region lock, i.e. the phones will only ever work with the SIM for the region they where sold in — forever. When it came time to come up with the whitelist of providers, there were just too many for Asia Pacific that they decided to leave those open. The packaging group took their cues from the engineering group and printed a bunch of stickers to put on the phones bound for North America and Europe (http://goo.gl/2O8gxw).

Someone else in Samsung decides to independently solve the gray import issue. They have the production capacity and supply chain to launch worldwide in 149 countries on Sept 25th so decided to make the phone available everywhere simultaneously. It turns out that in America (and maybe Europe) there are regulatory approvals to get through, so the launch there is delayed to early Oct.

Thus we ended up with the scenario that phones in the US and Europe can’t use SIMs from other  countries regardless of activation, and phones in Asia Pacific that can use any SIM — creating a reverse gray import scenario.

Once this story got out … Samsung PR reps, who got their info from the first group, claim it’s only for first time activation, despite that reality, the phones didn’t accept SIMs outside their region even with proper activation (http://goo.gl/uZEvyQ).

Finally (and this is an unconfirmed rumour) Samsung, quietly and without admitting the problem in the first place, releases a firmware update that fixes the whole thing (http://goo.gl/OdF38s).

This quote sums up the situation perfectly …

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”


App rescues Galaxy Note 3 from its region lock, but Samsung’s motives remain unclear — Tech News and Analysis

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This post was originally published publicly on Google+ at 2013-10-10 14:07:32+0800

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