In a pretty baffling move, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has already gone on sale in South Korea, despite its actual release date still being a good couple of weeks away. Oh, and also despite Samsung’s wishes.
Samsung says (and always has said) that the Galaxy S5′s release date is April 11. Yet SK Telecom, KT, and LG U+ (the three Korean carriers) have already started selling the device. Why would they do such a thing, especially unsanctioned by Samsung? Well, it turns out that the three Korean carriers have been slapped with fines for issuing illegal subsidies for phones by the relevant Korean authorities. This has happenednumerous times before, by the way, and alongside the fine came a provision saying each of the three companies is banned from gaining new customers for a 45-day period.
SK Telecom’s period starts on April 5, while KT is currently banned until April 26. Restrictions on LG U+ are in place until April 4 and will resume on April 27. So the biggest hit by the April 11 release date of the Galaxy S5 would be SK Telecom. Apparently the carrier did previously ask Samsung very nicely to let it start sales early, but the smartphone maker declined. And then SK Telecom just went and did it anyway.
Because of their ongoing bans, KT and LG U+ are currently only offering the Galaxy S5 to existing customers, under certain conditions. But they are offering it too. And SK Telecom will let just about anyone have an S5. However, Samsung has confirmed that the carriers only have a limited number of S5 units already, allocated for marketing and pre-sale activities, so that stock clearly won’t last long.