You must talk for five minutes on a regional carrier's network before the Galaxy S5 is unlocked for use
Do you remember how region locking worked on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3? Basically, if you bought an unlocked Note 3 in Europe and brought it to America without activating it with an European SIM first, you were in for an unpleasant surprise. To be able to use it, first you had to make a call with a SIM-card by a carrier from the region where you bought it from - Europe, America, Asia, etc. Still, Samsung's support or an online unlocking service would have taken the chains off for you, so it wasn't that big of a crisis. But Samsung should have been more open about the region locking from the beginning.
Unfortunately, Sammy decided to go the extra mile to ensure that importers would have a harder time with unlocking Galaxy S Fives before selling them off. Alas, regular users are at a disadvantage, too. What's going on? Well, to activate your S5 that you bought from Europe, for example, you will not only have to pop in an Euro-SIM, but actually talk for five minutes with it, which means you need a pre-paid, or otherwise working subscription. Congratulations!
Still, Samsung is open about the precautions this time. Special stickers found on European Galaxy S5 boxes suggest that the user must make cumulative calls over five minutes in length with a SIM card from an European operator. Fair enough.
What should you do? Well, it might be in your best interest to avoid buying a device locked out of your region in the first place. But if you absolutely have to, then you can ask Samsung Support to unlock your phone, or use a specialized region unlocking service. Perhaps the developer community will think of other ways to "jailbreak" the smartphone, but alas, these things don't happen overnight. Either way, enjoy your Galaxy S5.
1. PAPINYC (Posts: 2273; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
That's okay Sammy: 'Free Nights & Weekends in the good ole' U.S. of A.'
16. andynaija (Posts: 457; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)
"user must make cumulative calls over five minutes in length with a SIM card from an European operator" If calling is what you're talking about.
2. Diego! (Posts: 504; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
This really sucks! I think Samsung should think in the customer first and then in the operators.
They need us in order to get money after all.
Samsung stop this!
4. hassoups (Posts: 336; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)
I find this really reasonable because people are importing phones from overseas with for example incompatible lte bands and selling them on the street. What happens next? The customer is pissed off at Samsung because his phone doesn't have lte.. This is just one case and I'm not even going into illegal imports and so on
10. The-Sailor-Man (Posts: 825; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)
You must be iboy (not to understand simple things)? Right?
It has nothing to do with the operators. It's only about off-contract phones FULL PRICE.
It doesn't affect any buyer who buys phone normally. I affects only the smart-ass resellers who buy phones from low-tax regions and sell them in high-tax regions. And this protects the honest sellers.
Great move from Samsung.
3. Killua (Posts: 269; Member since: 25 Nov 2013)
Why? They're releasing it worldwide simultaneously, so shouldn't it be fine? It's another way to fight gray-market illegal importer.
5. tasior (Posts: 209; Member since: 04 Nov 2012)
That's fair. It doesn't harm clients in any way... If You're on a trip, buying pre-paid card shouldn't be a problem... The problem is for smugglers, that try to move large amounts of handsets...
The dark side of this, it enables price differentiation, for the sellers. I don't know why but most electronics in my country and in many cases in whole EU are higher than in US...
6. PAPINYC (Posts: 2273; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
Prices are lower in the U.S. because we have soooo many social subsidy programs, hence, that's why we pay our fair share (those of us who earn income) in taxes.
11. ibap (Posts: 693; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
What social subsidy programs affect prices for top-end phones? The ones that provide phones with limited usage to people who otherwise can't afford them? That's a small number and total rubbish.
The apparently lower US prices for phones are confusing to those outside the US because most US phones are subsidized and locked into contracts.
9. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 852; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
Europeans will find a way around this very quickly.
But this will merely delay illegal imports slightly but have the negative effect of putting people off Samsung. I was going to get one but worried I might have to do a factory reset or if I have software upgrade then that will reset the counter and brick me while traveling abroad.
Besides who the hell talks on the phone anymore. It takes me a couple of months to get to that 5 minute mark (especially with apps like Viber and Skype being so predominate) and even more so in most of Europe.
13. deathgod (Posts: 120; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)
The people saying this is fair are obviously those that can get the phone without issues, but what of those of us who have to rely on imports because Samsung doesn't have a market in our area like the Caribbean? Not so fair to us is it!
15. kanagadeepan (Posts: 664; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)
Also to people in India where they released the phones without Indian LTE anyway. (LG and Apple has released with Indian LTE).
Further Snapdragon versions in USA is much much better and dev-support than BS Exynos... So whats wrong in importing ourselves?
14. zennacko (Posts: 234; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)
It was ridiculous when DVDs and Games were region-locked. Now we have sites, and even freaking cell phones region-locked (the last laugh of our old friend, carrier-lock). The companies must think of countries and continents as various cages of animals. Some can pay more and be happy with it (brotip: I could buy 3x S5 in the US with the full price of 1x S5 somewhere in south america) while others won't accept high prices and go for the lowest possible (typical american addicted to carrier subsidy and the "phones for up to $200", not minding the 2-year contract that follows up). They lock so only THEY can profit, smart sellers that buy from low tax zones shouldn't take the blame, they do a favor by selling for cheap on some countries, even though it's gray market.
17. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 185; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)
Does Samsung think it's a goverment and worried about collecting taxes. I think not Samsung must sell phone at differant rates in differant countries to maximize profits, thats what it is thinking of not taxes.