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
- the SIM limitation sticker really is meant to mean what it says - the N9005 is not meant to be compatible with SIMs issued by operators outside the European region - I believe at least some owners are using the Note 3 with SIMs issued by operators outside the EU but the rep was adamant that the Note 3 was not intended by Samsung to be used with SIMs issued by operators outside of the European region, even following first activation.
- the European region Note 3s are only meant to be compatible with SIMs issued by operators from the European region, and this applies equally after activation - I asked repeatedly her to confirm this which she did each time. I tried practical examples too and it got worse: So if I go to Australia I must use a European region SIM in my Note 3 even if I buy the Note 3 SIM-free for £620? Yes according to the rep. So I asked if I go to Florida on vacation, I have no choice but to use a European region SIM in my Note 3? Yes again according to rep.
- the rollout of Kitkat is to extend the regional lock to existing SGS3s and Note 2s - I asked if my existing unlocked SGS3 bought unlocked over a year ago is to be subject to the same regional lock if I upgrade. Yes according to rep. So I would not be able to use a SIM from outside the European region in it when travelling? Yes according to 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.