The geographical limitations cover the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and S4 Mini, as well as the Galaxy Note 2 and Note 3. Existing handsets will not be affected by the change, however. Samsung said the region lock would only affect models manufactured from the end of July 2013 and that a sticker on the packaging would indicate whether it’s covered by the new rule.
The ruling means that if you travel with one of these handsets outside of Europe and thow in a local SIM card, you won’t be able to use their network or services. Instead, you’ll be forced to use a SIM card from a European operator and take their applicable international roaming charges.
The European region-locking will support the following countries though, according to Samsung’s statement:
- Countries of the European Economic Area (EEA):
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands , Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, Switzerland, Croatia
Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Vatican City
The only exception to this rule is you haven’t yet activated the handset with a European SIM card. In this instance, it’s possible to unlock the handset free of charge from one of Samsung’s service partners. Useful if you’re importing a device and don’t plan on swapping out the SIM card while you’re abroad.
It’s not clear at this point whether the same devices will be region-locked in the US too. We have reached out to Samsung for more details and will update this article with any information we receive.