The Galaxy S5 isn’t even available in stores in any market including South Korea, and it looks like the phone will have a rather rocky start in its home country. According to Reuters, the phone’s launch almost coincides with a 45-day smartphone sales ban imposed on mobile operators by the local communications regulator. From March 13 to May 19, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ will be banned “from signing up customers or replacing phones.” The Galaxy S5 expected to launch on April 11 in the region.
Each carrier has received a different ban during that period, which means customers interested in buying a subsidized Galaxy S5, or upgrading to a Galaxy S5 “where service contracts are less than two years old,” will still be able to do so during the 45-day ban assuming they’re willing to wait for the ban to expire – here are the ban periods for the three operators:
- SK Telecom – from April 5 to May 19
- KT – from March 13 to April 26
- LG U+ – from March 13 to April 4 and from April 27 to May 18
The ban apparently comes after carriers have broken regulations “by subsidizing more than 270,000 won ($250) the cost of handsets” in the past, in a tough smartphone market where 70% of buyers already have smartphones.
“The Korean market accounts for a relatively small portion of Samsung’s overall smartphone sales, but given that they need to maximize sales in the first three months of the launch, the operation suspension of mobile carriers could hit initial S5 sales,” IM Investment & Securities analyst Lee Min-hee told Reuters. Lee further added that the ban, combined with the “lack of sweeping hardware improvements,” may lead to Samsung not meeting a 20 million Galaxy S5 sales mark for the first three month, a milestone reached with the Galayx S4 last year.
During the same period, other flagship Android handsets may be launched – and suffer the same consequences – including the Sony Xperia Z2 and the HTC One 2014 edition.