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Samsung doubles down on Galaxy S5 region-locking

Galaxy S5 Region Lock

Samsung is marching forward with its region-lock policy for new devices, with the Galaxy S5 representing the latest victim of this feature, SamMobile reports. It all started last year, when Samsung locked the Galaxy Note 3 to the region where it was sold. To unlock it, users would have to use it with a local SIM card before being able to use it in a different region. The same restrictions are true with the newly launched Galaxy S5, and it looks like Samsung has upped the ante.

Instead of requiring users to use the phone for five minutes after a local SIM is activated – which was the case of the Galaxy Note 3 – Samsung now wants Galaxy S5 owners to make a 5-minute call before the device can be used with SIMs from other regions.

“This product should be activated with a SIM card issued from a mobile operator within Europe. (as defined EU/EEA, Switzerland and the following Non-EEA countries Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M), Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia and Vatican City.),” a warning message reads on the European Galaxy S5 model. “To use SIM cards from other regions, a cumulative call over five minutes must first be made with the SIM card from European operators,” Samsung adds.

While Samsung’s message is clearer to consumers than before, it may still annoy some potential buyers. However, the company isn’t targeting individual buyers, but instead it’s going for something bigger, as Samsung still appears interested to stop “grey” imports, and thus prevent any losses it incurs when buyers get cheaper units from other regions of the world.

The region lock sticker warning on the Galaxy S5 box is shown in the following image, via Android Central.

The phone is already available in 125 markets.


Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.