When Samsung released their Galaxy Note 3 a few weeks ago, it packed a nasty surprise to future owners in the way of a region lock preventing owners from using a SIM card from a different geographic region then the phone was purchased in. This has caused a fair amount of outrage among Note 3 owners.
Personally, I am against region locks as this can prevent legitimate customers from enjoying their phones. I am not sure what Samsung was even thinking with their choice to implement such a draconian technology in this premium phone.
Samsung’s intentions were good as they were trying to prevent the mass export of their phones however their implementation did more to inferiate customers than it did to prevent mass exports. Samsung’s biggest mistake was a complete lack of communication with their customers. The only indication customers may have gotten would have been a sticker on the back of their phone with the lock active.
Rather than simply scrapping this horrible idea, Samsung made a statement saying that they will be working hard to improve the process and they have no intentions to dropping the “feature”.
Samsung’s statement (Translated from German):
” We assure you that the pleasant and smooth user experience for our customers with Samsung products is a top priority for us. Of course, we take customer feedback to heart.
“The fact that the regional SIM Lock function ensures this degree of uncertainty , we did not expect . Therefore, we collected and analyzed the many questions in the last days .
“The regional SIM lock feature on the latest Samsung products will remain in place. We are currently examining intensively However , how can we optimize and simplify the procedure for total customer satisfaction. To answer all the questions satisfactorily , but we still need some time .
” If users previously have problems with the deactivation of the regional SIM lock function, they can contact customer service . This supports like the activation process so that customers can use their device without restrictions . “
What does this all mean? It would likely imply that Samsung will be adding similar locks to all future phones including the Galaxy S5 and possibly a few older phones such as the S4. I know several Samsung users who will likely be upset with this announcement, unless Samsung comes to its senses at the last moment. Personally I do not see how using the phone that I purchased in the US in Italy will hinder the “pleasant and smooth user experience” however an unneeded call to customer service might.
Of course, thanks to the ingenuity of the Android Developer Community, the region lock has been successfully defeated (root access required)