I really thought the days of region-locking were dying with the DVD, but it seems I was wrong – Samsung has decided to revive the odious practice with its Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.
Yes, if you buy an unlocked Note 3 in Europe and travel to, say, the U.S., you will not be able to use a local SIM card. In other words, you will be forced to buy your carrier’s outrageous roaming fees or go Wi-Fi-only.
This fact came out in a Wednesday blog post by the British online retailer Clove. Samsung has confirmed to me that they are really doing this, and I’m waiting on a statement.
My opinion on this, if expressed as I’m feeling it, would not be fit for a family-friendly publication such as this. The great advantage of the GSM telephony standard is that it puts power into the hands of the consumer. Unlike CDMA, it uses SIM cards, allowing users to easily swap carrier if needed (assuming of course that they have an unlocked phone).
Right now I can only guess that the carriers asked Samsung to lock European phones to Europe, in anticipation of the new rules that will effectively scrap roaming premiums within the EU. Doing so would help those carriers claw back some of the lost revenue by forcing customers travelling outside Europe to stick with their home carrier and pay their crazy rates.
But that’s wild speculation. Go on, Samsung, tell us why this is OK.