Samsung issued a statement on July, about the SIM-locked on its phones, which has provided some information on the practice, though does not elaborate as to why phones are now being geographically SIM-locked. You can see the statement here:
The new policy, at this point, applies to Galaxy S III, S II, Note, S4, S4 Mini, and Note 3 devices produced after the end of July 2013.
- All regionally locked devices will have a sticker on the box indicating as much.
- The regional locks cover large geographic areas. For example, a Note 3 purchased in Europe will work throughout the European Economic Area, and multiple non-EU countries / principalities, but not in Africa or Asia.
- If a phone is purchased in one region but never activated with a SIM in that region, it can be unlocked free of charge outside of that region by a “Samsung service partner” wherever it ends up.
At this point, the two zones we are aware of, are the Americas and Europe. The European lock extends to the following regions (meaning, you can use your European region-locked phone in any of these countries):
- Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands , Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, Switzerland, Croatia, Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Vatican City.
The Americas zone is less clear, but on the box it says “The North, South, and Central Americas and the Caribbean,” which should mean pretty much any country encompassed by that statement (but that does not mean US carrier phones will work anywhere in the Americas – they’re still carrier locked). Phones purchased in the Americas will not accept a European SIM, or an Asian SIM, and the same is going to be true in reverse for other regions.(Your Samsung phone is limited to service in the region in which it was purchased).
The Samsung Germany last Friday, finally threw light on new policy on locking region, explaining that any lock concerning the device only for the first time that is switched on. The Korean company clarified that this policy is not only the Galaxy Note 3, as originally reported in the various relevant publications but on all devices Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II, built on July 2013 onwards.
Besides, Samsung has clarified the issue to Android Central, and it turns out it’s actually not all that bad. Here’s the gist: if you buy a Galaxy Note 3 (or other region-locked Samsung phone), it must be activated with a SIM in its home region. That means you can’t import a Note 3 from Taiwan and then activate it in Europe, for example, and if you try to do that, it will lock itself. If that happens, you can go to a Samsung service center (if such a thing exists) and they will unlock the device for you, free of charge, so that you can then use it.
If you buy a device and activate it in its home region, the region lock is permanently disabled. You can then roam or use other nations’ SIM cards anywhere in the world.
The explanations of Samsung are that the new feature has been introduced to stop unscrupulous resellers from buying handsets from one country or region where devices are cheaper and then selling them to consumers in another country.Practically all you need, according to the company, it must be properly initial activation and then the device can work with any card SIM.
This news, as you might expect, causing concern to the average users and has raised important questions about the intentions of Samsung and what the future holds with regard to rights of use of the devices. Namely the major questions are:
1) Why Samsung did this?
2) Why stickers on packages clearly state that the devices are not compatible with SIM cards of other areas?
3) The Colleagues who are supporting Samsung, have the obligation to unlock any device that is presented to them?
4) How Samsung lock can be installed?(we need a firmware for the SIM or any special software?
Still, it also means that buying a new handset from the airport before catching an international flight could be a huge pain as, (according to Samsung’s statement), if the handset isn’t properly set up, and therefore fails to work, the consumer will have to take it to one of Samsung’s recognized service partners to get the fault corrected and the phone set up properly.
The biggest problem though is that the initial story broke on September 26 when phone retailers in Europe and the US noticed that the packaging for new Samsung devices carried an equally new SIM Lock sticker, and that five days later, Samsung is yet to issue an English-language statement clarifying to consumers or retailers, what the stickers actually mean.
So far, only the company’s German PR agency has been forthcoming with any form of statement. For this reason we can only wait for more information that will answer all of our questions.
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