Today’s the big day for Samsung fans all over the world, as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are launching in 60 different countries all over the world. If there’s one thing that Samsung is good at, it’s launching devices on a global scale like this, and while prices and features vary a little depending on where you are in the world, at least Samsung makes their flagship devices available outside of a few key markets. For our European readers however, this year’s launch has bought with it the return of a fairly divisive practice; region locking.
This all started with the launch of the Galaxy Note 3, and Samsung have been doing it on expensive devices ever since. Essentially, this means that say you buy a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge in the UK, you’ll have to first use the device with a UK SIM in order to make it a fully “unlocked” device. After that, you can swap in a SIM from France when on the continent or a T-Mobile SIM when in the US. Things are a little different this time around however, as users will need to make at least 5 minutes’ worth of phone calls in the region they bought the device, with a region-specific SIM and network in order to make it fully unlocked.
All of this seems pretty strange, considering the price Samsung and retailers ask for such devices and their “unlocked” promise, but this isn’t about preventing you from using your device. Instead, it’s to stop exporters swallowing up the devices at launch and then shipping them off elsewhere. This won’t stop those determined to make some money of course, but it does make wholesale exporting to markets that might charge more for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge a little more difficult. It’s a pain for users that might be traveling a lot, but it’s not a massive problem as all users need to do is use it with their primary SIM to “activate” the device and from there they can do whatever they want with. It’s unlikely consumers will warm to this policy though, especially given the demand for Samsung’s latest.