Launching your latest flagship phone as a company should be an event you look forward to, but it seems like Samsung might just be dreading April 11th, at least in South Korea. April 11th is the global sales starting date for the Galaxy S5, and it also just so happens to coincide with the sales ban placed on Korean carriers SK Telecom Co Ltd, KT Corp and LG UPlus Corp. In just three days the sales ban goes into effect, and will range from March 13th all the way to May 19th, creating one of the biggest problems Samsung is likely to face with the upcoming Galaxy S5 launch. This isn’t the only thing Samsung has been facing either; first we heard that they were having issues manufacturing enough fingerprint scanners even though they opted for in-house ones over 3rd party scanners, and just this morning one of the factories responsible for making circuit boards for the Galaxy S5 had completely gone up in flames, costing over $1 Billion in damages after it had finally been put out. While these sorts of things are always potential setbacks, Samsung has yet to say anything about moving the April 11th launch date, which is only a month away at this point.
The ban on Korean carriers though comes after the South Korean regulatory commission after the 3 big carriers continued to heavily subsidize phones even after being warned by regulators that such practices were not allowed. In South Korean 7 out of 10 mobile phone subscribers have smartphones, so the push to get that final 30% to get smartphones has been increasingly heavy, and required tactics that were found to be unsavory by regulators. While South Korea is just a drop in the bucket for Samsung’s overall user base, South Korea is frequently one of the first markets to get any smartphone, as Samsung and LG headquarter there and make up a significant portion of the market by themselves. The Galaxy S5 has a lot to live up to, especially given the astronomical sales of both the Galaxy S III and Galaxy S4, and the Galaxy lineup altogether has sold over 200 million phones at this point as well, only adding to the expectations for great sales. While many have complained about lack of big features over last year’s model, Samsung has significantly improved the camera, made the phone water resistant, and changed the material on the back of the phone that so many complained about. Will this be enough to get people to upgrade their current phones, or maybe switch from another manufacturer to Samsung for the Galaxy S5? We’ll know for sure in a month, but those sales definitely won’t be coming from South Korea for a while yet.