Samsung's new region lock might extend to the Note II and S III with the Android 4.4 KitKat update

Samsung's new region lock might extend to the Note II and S III with the Android 4.4 KitKat update
That region lock Samsung seems to equip its American and European Note 3 units, which was said to be a harbinger of things to come for future models? Well, if a Samsung rep is to be believed, that invention, aimed at curtailing gray market sales, may spread to older Samsung devices when the Android 4.4 KitKat update arrives for them, like the Note II or the Galaxy S III.

This info was given to a Note 3 user, when they rang up Samsung to complain about their European model not accepting SIM cards from other regions, even though the company bent backwards to explain the region lock will be gone after activating the phone with a local card first. Here's what they got from the rep:


There is a thread over at XDA-Devs with hundreds of entries complaining this is the situation right now, and the examples range from European Note 3 activated with a German SIM not working with a Thailand one, to activated UK unit not working with an Egypt SIM, and so on. It's been just a week of sales in Europe, though, so Samsung might meet its promise with an update. 

What's more troubling is the mention that the KitKat update for last year's Samsung flagships might have the same region lock code inside, though we'd assume this one is months away, so things could change until then, if enough backlash amasses.

Related phones

Galaxy S III
  • Display 4.8" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh(11.60h 3G talk time)
GALAXY Note II
  • Display 5.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(16h 3G talk time)

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22 Comments

1. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Oh no, this is not good. If I want to use my local SIM instead of regional then I can't after this update.

5. james004

Posts: 486; Member since: May 15, 2013

cant imagine how many people will be locked out of their phones after updating. talk about be real d*ck. samsung you definitely win that award.

16. zhiae unregistered

nothing gets locked.

18. Long1

Posts: 399; Member since: May 18, 2013

Samsung UK has now released a statement basically confirming that this article is iBS: "In order to provide customers with the optimal mobile experience in each region including customer care services, Samsung has incorporated the ‘regional SIM lock’ feature into Galaxy Note 3 devices. The product is only compatible with a SIM-card issued from a mobile operator within the region identified on the sticker of the product package. When the device is activated with a SIM card issued from the other region, the device may be automatically locked until it is released at the dedicated service centre. Once a device is activated normally, the regional SIM lock is automatically released. Users can enjoy the roaming service as usual and can use other region’s SIM card when travelling. The regional SIM lock has been applied to the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S4 devices through a software update in selective markets. The regional SIM lock does NOT affect the device’s features and performance. Users can continue to enjoy all the advanced features of our products."

2. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1265; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

F you SAMSUNG....

12. LiquidGalaxy

Posts: 332; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Been saying this for a while - nice to see people are catching up ;-)

13. newbey123

Posts: 702; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

I have always known Crapsung sucked.

3. Navaid

Posts: 46; Member since: Sep 05, 2013

It's good, for the govt. and more organized records..

4. harislg

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I bought a galaxy note 2 two weeks ago and I saw the same message

6. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

NSA - We want to track all phones by their region, and the carriers are not allowing us. Samsung - Solution Found.

7. kri5t1 unregistered

what about europe?

8. Sondae

Posts: 291; Member since: Jan 02, 2013

If this crazy idea of samsung will continue on region lock there will be a lot of people will change of phone brand specially people who travel a lot or people who work in different country. Bad choice samsung.

9. Vireak unregistered

I'll never buy another Same Dung again...I mean Samsung

10. jibraihimi

Posts: 815; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Thank you Samsung, for bringing us back into the business. Best regards! HTC, Sony mobile, and LG mobile.

11. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

The best way to shrink grey market is to be fair to customers. That means selling same devices for about the same price all over the world. In this case the grey market is just a defensive mechanism for price manipulation of marketers.

14. cR203

Posts: 209; Member since: Jan 27, 2013

This region lock is so stupid. I buy all my phones unlocked. I currently have the note 2 n7100. Does this mean I'll be locked out of own my phone with the android 4.4 update?

15. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

@PA this region unlock is done to prevent grey imports.... you've to insert a local sim for first time and go through the intial setup...after that you're free to take your device around the world http://www.androidcentral.com/galaxy-note-3-region-lock-more-details-emerge i hope you will update...

22. zennacko unregistered

If you're correct (and both I and Samsung's sales hope you are) then that means that if I wanted to buy a Sammy phone as a gift to some friend, relative or whatever overseas, first I'll have to open, charge and set it up on my country first? What a pain in the nether regions :(

17. Exile SS

Posts: 40; Member since: Oct 07, 2010

This is of course under the idea that the Note II will get the KitKat update. Speaking from the US perspective and having one since the day it came out on Tmobile you need to look at the facts. 1. Been running 4.1.2 from the start 2. No software updates have been issued (aside from Tmobile LTE connectivity) 3. Months of frazzled rumors about 4.2.2 4. No updates about updates 5. Wait! 4.2.2 will be skipped to 4.3! I June Hopefully! 6. Oops there goes the rumor list for updates 7. Ok guys we fixeed the list it's back up, but still unnoficial. 8. SAMSUNG SAID WE ARE GETTING 4.3!!!! In October!!!! 9. Wait, no, that's for the Korean model, NOVEMBER!!!! 10. Wait, no that's for international models December??? 11. Yes December it is scheduled for! Now just to wait and see how the carriers feel about it... Updates are never as good as they're hyped up to be, but never as bad as the worst case scenario. SIt back, relax, try it and if it doesn't work Samsung may change it. Who knows?

19. starandmountain

Posts: 53; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

This really sucks. I won't buy a samsung phone again if this will stay forever. Thereby i won't upgrade to 4.4! Samsung if you want to stay the king don't do stupid things like this! i paid 700 euro for this phone and you are treating your customers like this? disappointed....

20. starandmountain

Posts: 53; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

Phonearena, can you please tell us if they are implementing this in the 4.3 as well? because i won't download it if that's the case.

21. xtremesv

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Rep must be wrong and if not I will sue Samsung because when I bought my SGS4 it didn't say in the future it would be locked to a specific region so they don't have the right to cripple my phone. Ultimately I believe this stupid move by Samsung is going to apply only to new sales of their devices. Backward thinking nonetheless.

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