Even though Samsung wants to launch the Galaxy S5 on April 11th in multiple markets simultaneously, some carriers are already selling the new handset, apparently disregarding Samsung’s wishes. The Galaxy S5 went on sale on Thursday in South Korea, Bloomberg reports, showing that mobile operators are ready to do just about anything to sell new devices to consumers, especially in a competitive market such as Samsung’s home country.
The three main carriers in the country – including SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ a – have been hit with a smartphone sales ban that coincides with the planned Galaxy S5 launch. The government is punishing the mobile operators by preventing them to sign new customers for their previous smartphone sales-related subsidies that exceeded a certain threshold. Different ban periods have been awarded to all three carriers between March 13 and May 18, with at least two of them, including SK Telecom and KT, not being able to launch the Galaxy S5 on April 11.
Earlier rumors suggested that SK Telecom, the only carrier of the three that’s not banned to sell new smartphones this week, would sell the handset earlier. Samsung denied the reports even though its own Seoul-based stores reportedly told customers who pre-ordered the handset they could pick it up on March 27. “We are very puzzled,” Samsung said in a statement. “SK Telecom strongly asked for an earlier release of the product but we delivered our stance that the global release date of April 11 remains unchanged.”
“The official global launch date of the Galaxy S5 is April 11, as previously announced, Samsung further told The Verge in a statement. “Samsung has provided mobile carriers with a limited number of units for marketing and pre-sales activities, however the decision to release the device early in the Korean market was made by the mobile carrier itself, independently of Samsung. We express our regret at this decision and we are working to verify all the facts.”
Meanwhile, SK Telecom stood by its decision to launch the Galaxy S5 ahead of schedule. “We decided to release the product for a wider consumer choice of handsets before our operation suspension begins on April 5,” the carrier said in a statement.