Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Sep 2013 13:32 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

I really thought the days of region-locking were dying with the DVD, but it seems I was wrong - Samsung has decided to revive the odious practice with its Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.

Yes, if you buy an unlocked Note 3 in Europe and travel to, say, the U.S., you will not be able to use a local SIM card. In other words, you will be forced to buy your carrier's outrageous roaming fees or go Wi-Fi-only.

The worst part is that this is not a joke.

Order by: Score:
why oh why?
by puenktchen on Thu 26th Sep 2013 13:54 UTC
puenktchen
Member since:
2007-07-27

I can understand why a phone company would want to restrict you to using their service with the phone they are selling, but what service does a region lock on a device serve?

Reply Score: 3

RE: why oh why?
by darknexus on Thu 26th Sep 2013 14:00 UTC in reply to "why oh why?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I can understand why a phone company would want to restrict you to using their service with the phone they are selling, but what service does a region lock on a device serve?

It was already stated. You will be forced to pay data roaming charges to your carrier unless you want to buy a new phone. I'd bet most will opt for the roaming charges rather than be stuck with a dumb phone for a bit (stupid, but likely). Seems like a simple case of Samsung sucking up to carriers to me. I'm not much into government interference in business as long-time readers probably know, but if there'd be any time for the EU to get involved this would be it. Otherwise we're going to see widespread adoption of this idea and the resultant corruption that accompanies it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: why oh why?
by puenktchen on Thu 26th Sep 2013 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE: why oh why?"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

If you want to earn some nice profits by high roaming charges than you lock the device to your network or at least your country and not to a region. I'm paying roaming fees in other european countries all the time but I'm only in another region every few years.

Edited 2013-09-26 14:06 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: why oh why?
by darknexus on Thu 26th Sep 2013 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: why oh why?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

If you want to earn some nice profits by high roaming charges than you lock the device to your network or at least your country and not to a region. I'm paying roaming fees in other european countries all the time but I'm only in another region every few years.

Won't get any argument from me, but this way they can nail a segment of the market that do a lot of region travel. It's a nasty move and I don't like it anymore than you do. I'm just saying there's an obvious reason they're doing this; either the carriers will push more Samsung devices in exchange or else perhaps a bit of a kickback from the roaming charges they will collect. Either way this should be stopped, and the best way to stop it is to not buy it. You hear that, European readers? Do not buy the European Galaxy Note 3. Vote with your wallet this time and we may not have to fight this battle again. In fact, don't buy Samsung phones for a while.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: why oh why?
by vidarh on Fri 27th Sep 2013 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: why oh why?"
vidarh Member since:
2011-10-14

If you want to earn some nice profits by high roaming charges than you lock the device to your network or at least your country and not to a region. I'm paying roaming fees in other european countries all the time but I'm only in another region every few years.


You try to make that fly with the EU. You already pay far less in roaming fees in other EU countries than you used to because the EU has intervened several times, and more reductions are in the cards - in other words there's less and less to earn for the carriers from trying to enforce roaming within the EU countries at least, and greater and greater chance they'd just provoke more regulation.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: why oh why?
by puenktchen on Fri 27th Sep 2013 13:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: why oh why?"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

The profits are still decent: I pay 7.5 cent per minute at home, 28.56 ct/min in all member states of the EU and no less than 149 ct/min in other european countries, same as in the USA. 0 ct/m, 8.33 ct/m and 69 ct/m for incoming calls. 7.5 ct / 9.52 ct / 49 ct for a SMS.

People in small countries with lots of tourists like Austria do profit from the high roaming costs, the locals get really nice deals from their telcos. But inhabitants of Switzerland on the other hand do have very high costs for local calls and for roaming. Like prices elsewhere 15 years ago, about 4 times higher than in Germany.

Reply Score: 3

RE: why oh why?
by spudley99 on Thu 26th Sep 2013 14:14 UTC in reply to "why oh why?"
spudley99 Member since:
2009-03-25

I can understand why a phone company would want to restrict you to using their service with the phone they are selling, but what service does a region lock on a device serve?


The reason commonly given for this kind of practice with regards to mobile phones is to reduce the value of it to thieves.

Stolen phones are often taken abroad to be sold, because selling them in the country of origin makes makes it much easier for the authorities to catch them. Blocking the phone from working overseas is a good way of making the device much less valuable to thieves, and thus much less likely to be stolen.

That's the theory anyway. Whether it's the *real* reason for the lock is another story.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: why oh why?
by puenktchen on Thu 26th Sep 2013 14:18 UTC in reply to "RE: why oh why?"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

I don't buy that reason either. Not like a thieve would know that in advance or if those kind of locks couldn't be broken anyway.

I guess it is about preventing grey imports and resulting support issues because of some minor differences between the models sold in the regions. Like base bands and so on.

Reply Score: 6

Not only the Note 3
by puenktchen on Thu 26th Sep 2013 14:29 UTC
puenktchen
Member since:
2007-07-27

Lol - Samsung shooting themselves in both foots. The new region lock feature will come to more devices soon:

Samsung GALAXY S III, GALAXY Note II, GALAXY S4, GALAXY S4 mini ... GALAXY Note 3.

http://allaboutsamsung.de/2013/09/samsung-gibt-statement-galaxy-not... (german)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Not only the Note 3
by darknexus on Thu 26th Sep 2013 15:42 UTC in reply to "Not only the Note 3"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Lol - Samsung shooting themselves in both foots. The new region lock feature will come to more devices soon:

Yep, don't buy Samsung phones for a while. I don't want to have to deal with this coming to the states too, although I'm surprised we didn't think of it first. Usually we're the first market for underhanded practices

(german)

Thanks, been needing some practice with my German. Haven't used it in a while so it's a bit rusty.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Not only the Note 3
by puenktchen on Thu 26th Sep 2013 17:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Not only the Note 3"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

I don't want to have to deal with this coming to the states too, although I'm surprised we didn't think of it first. .


Same in the states, only SIM cards from the American continent. Situation in Asia is still unclear. At least there is no sticker with a similar restriction on the box:

http://www.androidbeat.com/2013/09/wtf-samsung-region-locking-galax...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Not only the Note 3
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 26th Sep 2013 22:10 UTC in reply to "Not only the Note 3"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

From the page you linked I found this:
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Region-SIM-Lock-bei-Samsungs...

Note the update at the bottom, indicating that this is a restriction for activation of the phone. So if its Europe region locked, it must be activated with a European SIM first. After the initial activation, its supposed to accept any sim from anywhere.

It still sucks, but its not as bad as it looked at first.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Not only the Note 3
by puenktchen on Fri 27th Sep 2013 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Not only the Note 3"
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

Note the update at the bottom, indicating that this is a restriction for activation of the phone.


Sounds like it, but the PR people from Samsung produce very confused statements. If that is the case, they probably do it to prevent grey imports.

And what does that mean for rooting your device? Will you have to activate it again? Will it still work?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Not only the Note 3
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 27th Sep 2013 14:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Not only the Note 3"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Replying to my own post. Apparently, Samsung is responding differently in different countries. So who knows what the real story is.

Reply Score: 3

*Double Facepalm*
by siraf72 on Thu 26th Sep 2013 14:57 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

<see title>

Reply Score: 5

Comment by _cynic_
by _cynic_ on Thu 26th Sep 2013 17:09 UTC
_cynic_
Member since:
2012-04-18

Two theories:
-Samsung is doing it for the carriers
-The price gap between regions will be to big

As a Note user, I say: "F**k you, Samsung"

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by _cynic_
by FunkyELF on Thu 26th Sep 2013 21:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by _cynic_"
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

Two theories:
-Samsung is doing it for the carriers
-The price gap between regions will be to big

As a Note user, I say: "F**k you, Samsung"


I didn't think of being able to charge different prices.
That is probably the whole reason right there... that and doing rollouts at different times.
I don't think they'd do this to collect roaming fees.

Reply Score: 3

Now this is something which is shit
by lucas_maximus on Thu 26th Sep 2013 18:13 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

This sucks. I remember in the UK in the pay as you go days when phones were sim locked to a particular network so the phone would only work with a particular UK network.

A lot of one band man tech stores used to charge £20 (which was 1/4 of the phones worth normally).

Edited 2013-09-26 18:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

MYOB Member since:
2005-06-29

Remember? That's still the case, its not something from the past.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I've been living as an expat for quite a number of years now. So for me, it was the past ... I am not surprised, things haven't changed.

In spain you can get a sim and decent internet for a cheap monthly charge if you know where to look and I buy a smart phone in Gibraltar.

You can do the same in the UK. Buy the cheapest contract with a phone and then say you don't want a handset update and negotiate a deal on the phone.

Edited 2013-09-26 18:54 UTC

Reply Score: 4

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

I've been living as an expat for quite a number of years now. So for me, it was the past ... I am not surprised, things haven't changed.


Well... actually they have. It's not as cut and dry as MYOB makes out. It really depends on how you get your phone. If you go to a branded store belonging to one of the main carriers, yes - you will get a SIM locked phone. If you go to somewhere like Carphone Warehouse, it's absolutely possible to get a phone that is unlocked, but that *should* have been locked. Carphone Warehouse (as an example, as they are on most highstreets) do not sell the carrier's branded hand sets per se, but sell them at the price dictated by the carrier. They sell most of their phones as unlocked handsets, and the purchaser just buys the phone at the carriers price, gets a SIM for the provider and pays a top-up fee to add credit of a specific level. So, when we got my eldest's phone, we bought it on Virgin Mobile (and paid a £10 top-up) as that was the cheapest "deal", but she has only ever used a Tesco mobile SIM in it (which, if you are not aware, is on a completely different base GSM network and should have been barred.) Now, not ever phone they sell is unlocked, but it's pretty easy to ask them which ones aren't and to buy one of those.

In spain you can get a sim and decent internet for a cheap monthly charge if you know where to look and I buy a smart phone in Gibraltar.


Same. Possibly cheaper.

You can do the same in the UK. Buy the cheapest contract with a phone and then say you don't want a handset update and negotiate a deal on the phone.


No, you can easily get a contract without a phone, a PAYG contract without a phone and many providers now offer to unlock your phone after a set period for free or a nominal charge. I can walk in to any Supermarket and get a PAYG SIM card for circa £1, use it for a few months then get a new one with a better rate on it. Companies like GiffGaff are driving down the cost of contracts - for around £10 it's possible to get unlimited Internet, SMS and very cheap calls on GiffGaff for example.

Reply Score: 4

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

This sucks. I remember in the UK in the pay as you go days when phones were sim locked to a particular network so the phone would only work with a particular UK network.

You mean like what we still do in the states to this day?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Thu 26th Sep 2013 18:47 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Samsung should get into the porn business since their so good at deep-throating.

Reply Score: 2

What does unlocked mean then?
by FunkyELF on Thu 26th Sep 2013 20:58 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

nt

Reply Score: 2

RE: What does unlocked mean then?
by shotsman on Fri 27th Sep 2013 05:38 UTC in reply to "What does unlocked mean then?"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Unlocked means that I can got to Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Dbuai, Brazil, Jordan, Columbia and Kazakhstan (all places I've been to on business in the last year) and buy a local SIM card and make calls without roaming charges.
This is the esence of what a Dual Sim phone is for anyway.

Reply Score: 4

China phones
by matej on Thu 26th Sep 2013 21:04 UTC
matej
Member since:
2007-05-27

Samsung is helping all these Chinese smartphone makers. It seems Samsung management is making Nokia style decisions...

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Dr-ROX
by Dr-ROX on Thu 26th Sep 2013 21:27 UTC
Dr-ROX
Member since:
2006-01-03

Apparently every company goes evil after some time..

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Dr-ROX
by MOS6510 on Fri 27th Sep 2013 07:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by Dr-ROX"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Samsung has been evil for many years, but try to name a company that hasn't done things we consider evil.

The bigger a company comes the more likely it will do something evil.

Reply Score: 3

Apple's biggest innovation with the iPhone...
by leos on Fri 27th Sep 2013 19:18 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

was telling the carriers to take a hike and never compromising on that.

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

was telling the carriers to take a hike and never compromising on that.

Couldn't agree more. That was one of several things that drew me to the iPhone in the beginning. This was before I decided that I would never do a carrier contract again and would only buy unlocked devices. In fact, it was the bloatware-free iPhone, coupled with a certain US carrier's terrible network, that showed me just what a smart phone could be without all the crap and decided me on this. I'm still an iPhone guy to this day for completely different reasons, mostly because I can't find a current Android phone I like. I figure if I'm going to have to put up with no replaceable battery, no MicroSD and no physical keyboard, might as well stay where the awesome apps are.

Reply Score: 2

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

"was telling the carriers to take a hike and never compromising on that.

Couldn't agree more. That was one of several things that drew me to the iPhone in the beginning. This was before I decided that I would never do a carrier contract again and would only buy unlocked devices. In fact, it was the bloatware-free iPhone, coupled with a certain US carrier's terrible network, that showed me just what a smart phone could be without all the crap and decided me on this. I'm still an iPhone guy to this day for completely different reasons, mostly because I can't find a current Android phone I like. I figure if I'm going to have to put up with no replaceable battery, no MicroSD and no physical keyboard, might as well stay where the awesome apps are.
"

Interestingly enough, the best Android phone in my opinion, the Nexus 4, also has no replaceable battery or MicroSD. Again it is the best because it doesn't get corrupted by carrier shitware.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Interestingly enough, the best Android phone in my opinion, the Nexus 4, also has no replaceable battery or MicroSD. Again it is the best because it doesn't get corrupted by carrier shitware.

Yeah, agreed and it would give me no advantages to switch to the Nexus 4. Platform is secondary to me. Apps, SDKs, and features are top on my priority list for a phone and I would therefore lose the iOS app ecosystem for no real gain. There are the Galaxy S4 Google Play editions of course, but given what we're commenting about here I'm not likely to buy one of those.

Reply Score: 2

gray-market my a**
by l3v1 on Sat 28th Sep 2013 13:49 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

"explanation for this whole debacle is that Samsung instituted the locks in an attempt to combat gray-market sales — a European buying a phone from Hong Kong over eBay to save money, for example."

If really so, then it's stupid crazy idiotic. Someone at Samsung must be really on the edge of sanity. Why would be "gray-market" to buy a device abroad and bring it home? It's not, and it's crazy to think so. Lots of people did it, do it, and will do it, and the only thing this 'locking' does is more of them will hack their devices.

Reply Score: 3

RE: gray-market my a**
by darknexus on Sat 28th Sep 2013 15:08 UTC in reply to "gray-market my a**"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

"explanation for this whole debacle is that Samsung instituted the locks in an attempt to combat gray-market sales — a European buying a phone from Hong Kong over eBay to save money, for example."

I would argue that if enough users are doing that for Samsung to see it as a problem, perhaps they should revisit their pricing in those regions. If it's cheaper to buy it somewhere else and either bring or ship it back to where you need it, then something's drastically wrong with Samsung's pricing in your home region for you to wish to go through that trouble.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: gray-market my a**
by ilovebeer on Sun 29th Sep 2013 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE: gray-market my a**"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

""explanation for this whole debacle is that Samsung instituted the locks in an attempt to combat gray-market sales — a European buying a phone from Hong Kong over eBay to save money, for example."

I would argue that if enough users are doing that for Samsung to see it as a problem, perhaps they should revisit their pricing in those regions. If it's cheaper to buy it somewhere else and either bring or ship it back to where you need it, then something's drastically wrong with Samsung's pricing in your home region for you to wish to go through that trouble.
"

Pricing can be influenced by many factors out of Samsung's control. Generally speaking, there are legitimate reasons why pricing is higher in on area and lower in another. Regardless of their particular situation, region-locking is not a good answer in my opinion.

Reply Score: 3

simple message for samsung
by project_2501 on Sat 28th Sep 2013 22:11 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

I was going to buy one.
Now I won't. Simple.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Mon 30th Sep 2013 18:33 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

Samsung is becoming too arrogant. First their top model, the Galaxy S4, available in Europe only with a miserly 16GB. Now this. Time to replace them with another Android based brand.

Reply Score: 2