Samsung admits its region-locking scheme hasn’t gone to plan (whatever that plan was)

Galaxy Note 3 and pen

Samsung has finally acknowledged that there is a problem with its region-locking of current smartphones such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. In a German-language statement (why, Samsung, why?) on Thursday, the firm said it had not anticipated the uncertainty its move would introduce.

To recap that uncertainty: first Samsung started putting stickers on its retail boxes saying the phones wouldn’t work with SIM cards from other regions; then it said this only applied to initial activation; and then many users reported that the devices really couldn’t use SIM cards from other regions after all, or at least that the deactivation of this lock wasn’t working as promised.

At least by that point we knew the feature was based on a blacklist of blocked countries.

Today, Samsung said the regional SIM lock feature would remain in place, but it was working on making the procedure friendlier for consumers (my suggestion: drop the region-locking). Samsung said it needed more time to answer everyone’s questions satisfactorily (my top question: why do this in the first place?).

In the meantime, those having trouble getting the lock removed should go bother Samsung’s customer service. Good luck!

Here’s a short English version of the statement, put out by Samsung on Monday 21 October (after this story’s original publication):

“We are working to improve and simplify the way the regional SIM lock is released, in order to provide convenience for our customers. The new solution will be announced as soon as it is ready.”

And for those who read German, here’s that original statement in full:

“Wir versichern, dass das angenehme und reibungslose Nutzererlebnis unserer Kunden mit Samsung-Produkten für uns oberste Priorität hat. Selbstverständlich nehmen wir uns das Feedback unserer Kunden zu Herzen.

“Dass die regionale SIM-Lock-Funktion in diesem Maße für Verunsicherung sorgt, haben wir nicht erwartet. Daher haben wir in den letzten Tagen die vielen Fragen gesammelt und ausgewertet.

“Die regionale SIM-Lock-Funktion auf aktuellen Samsung-Produkten wird weiterhin Bestand haben. Derzeit prüfen wir jedoch intensiv, wie wir das Verfahren insgesamt zur Zufriedenheit unserer Kunden optimieren und vereinfachen können. Um alle Fragen zufriedenstellend beantworten zu können, benötigen wir jedoch noch etwas Zeit.

“Sollten Nutzer bis dahin Probleme bei der Deaktivierung der regionalen SIM-Lock-Funktion haben, können sie sich direkt an den Kundendienst wenden. Dieser unterstützt gern beim Freischaltungsprozess, sodass Kunden ihr Gerät uneingeschränkt nutzen können.”

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