(Relaxnews) – Yes, handsets built since July are now locked to the region in which they are purchased but the new feature is meant to stop grey market phone sales, rather than owners avoiding roaming fees when using their devices in foreign countries.
The need for a region-specific SIM card affects all Galaxy Note III phablet handsets, plus Galaxy SIV, SIV Mini, Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II devices built since July.
However, Samsung claims 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.
Therefore, yes, the phones are locked to a specific SIM, meaning that if a consumer buys a new flagship handset in Europe, upon initial activation it must contain a European SIM card in order for the phone or phablet to function. But, and it’s a big but, once activation is complete, foreign SIM cards can be inserted into the device for cheaper calls and to avoid hefty international roaming charges.
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.