Samsung announced Galaxy S5 at MWC event in Barcelona and added that the flagship would release in the home market on April 11. While many were eagerly waiting for the official release, it is been reported that several carriers in South Korea have started selling the device, even before its official availability.
So, Galaxy S5 will be available for purchase to customers starting today. Many carriers in South Korea, including the largest network operator in the country, SK Telecom and competitors like LG U+, KT have moved up the release date and have started selling the smartphone to customers.
These carriers are looking to bag new customers because the telecom regulator of South Korea has prohibited them from adding new subscribers during the month of April. The ban was imposed by the regulator after these carriers were found offering illegal subsidies.
However, the release date of the device from Samsung was determined way before the rulings were given. So an April launch would restrict them from selling the phone to potential customers. Given that S5 is one of the most anticipated phones of the year, this could hurt their sales badly, which forced them to pre-pone the date of launch.
The ban imposed on SK Telecom starts from April 5 and goes on for 45 days till May 19. Similarly, KT, who is the second largest network in South Korea, is banned until April 26. So, these carriers decided to defy the company’s official orders and started selling the phone early.
A statement from SK Telecom to Bloomberg explains that the carrier is planning to sell S5 ahead of the official date given by Samsung “for a wider consumer choice of handsets before our operation suspension begins on April 5.”
However, Samsung has no part to play in this early launch. In fact, the company says it was very puzzled by the carrier’s decision and is still deciding how to respond to the situation. The company says that the carrier had strongly asked it to prepone the release date, but Samsung decided to stick with the official date given at the time of its announcement.
According to a statement given to Verge by the company’s spokesman, the official release date of Galaxy S5 is still April 11, even after this early launch. The company adds that the devices sold by these carriers are a part of the limited number of units provided to them for marketing and demo purposes. So, it’s quite possible that this early sale could end pretty soon.
With network operators playing a key role in selling devices from OEMs, it would be interesting to see how Samsung responds to the situation.
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