Sep 26th, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 region locked SIM

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 users are in a tizzy this afternoon after word got out of some oddly worded labeling slapped on their newly purchased Samsung Galaxy Note 3. According to security stickers placed on the Notes by Samsung, the devices seem to be locked down to their respective regions. Here’s what the label reads:

“European Model: This product is only compatible with a SIM-card issued from a mobile operator within Europe.”

This was further corroborated by users on XDA, who found that their “unlocked” Note 3s purchased from Europe (SM-N9005), and Latin America (SM-N900) were, in fact, locked down and couldn’t be used with SIMs from another region. So what’s going on?

Samsung clarifies

Well, All About Samsung received official word from Samsung who confirmed this information… sort of. While some Note 3s are region SIM locked, they will first need to be activated in the regions they were purchased in order for users to pop in a SIM for use in another country/region. In fact, this issue isn’t even unique to the Galaxy Note 3. Apparently any Samsung device purchased after July 2013 comes with the same sticker. Affected devices include:

Samsung does mention models “that have been delivered by Samsung and are in camps or even at retail” aren’t region SIM locked.

Buyer beware

Those looking to purchase an unlocked device from another region in order to receive a specific variant — Snapdragon 800 vs Exynos, or SAMOLED vs LCD — may want to wait until the model is available locally first. Really, those are the only people that might be affected by this (or if the phone simply isn’t sold in their country/region).

Keep in mind Asian regions also appear to be unaffected by Samsung’s region lock, so it’s not clear whether or not this will apply to the unlocked versions of the device sold elsewhere. Pretty crazy stuff.


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