Here’s something that doesn’t happen very often: a major smartphone actually launched earlier than anticipated, and the phone’s maker doesn’t even know how it happened. According to BBC, the Galaxy S5 is already on sale in South Korea, many weeks before it was set to launch on April 11. A spokesperson told BBC that the company was “very puzzled” by the events.
Three carriers in the country had already received shipments of new Galaxy S5 orders, but instead of waiting until April 11 each decided to start selling them immediately. So, technically, you can walk into an LG UPlus, KT Corp or SK Telecom store in South Korea and pick one up today, according to the report. There’s a legal issue at hand that explains why the carriers were so antsy to start selling new handsets.
South Korea recently issued new restrictions on wireless carrier sales following concerns that operators were issuing “illegal subsidies” to attract new customers, BBC explained. One of those restrictions is 45 day ban on SK Telcom’s ability to sell phones to new contract customers, starting on April 5. Since the Galaxy S5 launches on April 11, that means that the carrier wouldn’t be able to sell Samsung’s flagship smartphone at that point. Also, since the restriction is on new customer sales, that means customers might have otherwise turned and signed up with a competitor instead. So, SK Telecom just decided to rake in the sales now, before the ban goes into effect.
We highly doubt this is going to change any other launch dates, and recent rumors have suggested Samsung may even be facing some supply issues. The Galaxy S5 is already available for pre-order in the U.S. and will launch in April.