Samsung’s region lock causing problems, might extend to Galaxy S3 and Note II after Android 4.4 update
It seems like the regional SIM lock Samsung has put on the Galaxy Note 3 in Europe and the U.S. is an issue that isn’t going away any time soon. After initial outrage from users, Samsung recently issued a statement that the SIM lock only comes into effect if you turn on the device for the first time with a foreign SIM card, and that the handset can be used anywhere in the world after it has been activated with a local SIM card.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for many users out there, and a Samsung official has reportedly confirmed to an XDA user that the Note 3 cannot be used with SIM cards from a region that it wasn’t bought in. The company rep, after being asked several times, said that the region lock means that you simply cannot use a European Note 3 with a SIM card from the USA, even if the device has been turned on with a local SIM for the first time.
Basically, the region lock cannot be bypassed and is final, with many users over at the XDA forums complaining of incidents such as a Note 3 bought in Germany not working with a SIM from Thailand. Moreover, what’s worrying is that the aforementioned company rep said that the region lock will be extended to current devices like the S3 and Note II with the Android 4.4 KitKat update, meaning international roaming would become impossible unless you continue to use a SIM from the home country of the device.
Now, usually we’d rejoice at hearing that the rep could have unintentionally confirmed that an Android 4.4 update is coming, but the gravity of the region lock situation is a serious one. The region locking is being done to supposedly curtail grey imports, but really, how many grey importers import devices that have been in use for more than a year or so? It’s clear that despite Samsung’s attempts to clear the air and try to talk down the commotion over its rather stupid region locking stunt, the problem isn’t going away and could cause major backlash in the coming weeks.
But hey, maybe that backlash will cause them to backtrack on their plans to region lock old devices, and perhaps remove the limitation from the Note 3 through a software update as well. Fingers crossed that the Korean manufacturer does what’s in the best interest of consumers, instead of troubling them just to stop a few grey importers from making a quick buck.