Samsung regional SIM card locks explained

September 26, 2013
7

Yesterday we saw some talk about how Samsung was locking SIM cards and therefor restricting where you could use your phone while traveling. The initial talk was in regards to the recently announced Galaxy Note 3, however it seems this also deals with a few other Android handsets.

The catch is, while Samsung does indeed have a regional SIM lock in place, it it likely not as limiting as initially thought. First things first though, those other devices include the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S 4 Mini as well as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2 -- provided they were produced after the end of July 2013.

To help clear up the confusion, Samsung reached out to All About Samsung with the following statement;

"Some current Samsung products are now provided with a local SIM card lock. This means that devices purchased in the European Union, with SIM cards of mobile operators from Germany and from the European Union and the European Economic Area (the “European region”) work as usual.

Users of these Samsung devices can continue to use these together with their SIM card of a mobile operator from the European region via roaming service to appropriate roaming charges to their wireless service provider around the world. If purchased in the European Union and not yet been put into use to be activated for the first time abroad, users can unlock their device for the region free from local Samsung service partners."

Basically, the regional SIM lock is in place, however as long as you initially activate the handset in the country it was purchased -- it can then be used elsewhere. Assuming you do this, you will then be able to travel and use a local SIM for the country you happen to be visiting.

That said, the explanation from Samsung certainly appears to clear things up. Sure, there is a lock in place, but at least they are placing a warning sticker to give some heads up to the person making the purchase. Still, Samsung may want to rethink the wording on those stickers.

After all, the sticker, which currently states; "European Model: This product is only compatible with a SIM-card issued from a mobile operator within Europe" is easily misunderstood.


Recent Stories

  • Theo

    But, according to the Samsung quote, a phone first used in Europe can’t be used with a local SIM in Asia or the Americas. So you can use a local SIM where roaming is mostly regulated (thanks to EU laws), but you can’t use a local SIM when you’re somewhere roaming prices are eyewateringly expensive. Thanks, Samsung.

    • Cal Rankin

      From what Android Central reported, you can use the Note 3 anywhere as long as you put your local SIM first. For me, since I live in America, I buy the Note 3 to take abroad, but first I have to put in an American or Canadian SIM, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Rogers, etc. If I didn;t even use the Note 3 until I went to, say, the UK, and stuck in a Vodafone SIM initially, the region-lock would kick in, and then it is limited to only the North American regional SIMs.

  • adamant

    Samsung has never been the prettiest one at the ball but has always had the right set of ummm features. This time around I’ll take a spin with someone who doesn’t have a BLINDINGLY STUPID region lock.

  • Björn Endre

    In what way does this statement clear anything up? They specifically say:

    “Users of these Samsung devices can continue to use these together with their SIM card of a mobile operator from the European region via roaming serviceto appropriate roaming charges to their wireless service provider around the world. If purchased in the European Union and not yet been put into use to be activated for the first time abroad, users can unlock their device for the region free from local Samsung service partners.””

    But the issue is not that the phone won’t work abroad using the local SIM, the issue is that it doesnt seem to work abroad using a *local* SIM. In the statement above all they are talking about is ROAMING services. When I travel over to the US from Sweden the last thing I want to do is roam. I want to put in a local SIM, NOT roam.

    So NO, it does NOT explain anything. they still say it will not work with a local SIM

  • Your former client

    Good bye Samsung.

  • pontusberg

    This was exactly as I read it initially, and it’s really sad.

    They block the possibility to buy a unit at one place and use it at another. No more bargain in Asia (where the VAT is soi much lower) and bringing it home to Europe. Will not work.

    Also, buy it in Europe and bring it to on of the non-european holiday locations, you are left with roaming-rip.off-rates. No possibility to use a local SIM to save money and dodge the effects of a defunct roaming business.

    This sucks so much I hardly know where to begin.

  • Onweel2

    Where is the officail State ment ? some website of Samsung please

    Hi (sorry for my English)

    I buy the note 3 from studenmobile . nl it is Netherland webshop for phone

    I use the Dutch sim card (Vadafone, Tele2, T-mobile) for calling chatting internet.

    As i read a lot of news about this. I should can now just put Thai sim card in it already. But it not working it still ned a clod for unlock the sim.

    I try all the Thai Sim card i have…. AIS, True Companay, DTAC. None of it working.

    I also call to Samsung support in Netherland. Samsung Service – en Informatielijn
    Tel: 0900-SAMSUNG (0900-7267864) (10 c/m)

    I get 3 different answer.
    First one She only say just follow what the box say if you have problem with it just change the phone within 7 day.

    Second one say.. I just go to the any simlock free shop for ask for helping. But the phone will only working a about 14 Day in Thailand if i make it a simlock free and use Thai Simcard. Or if i want to use longer i have to ask from Thai provider.

    Third one. She not even know what I’m talking about. I mean she not know about this model. When i say Galaxy note 3,she not know., SN-N9005 she not know. I have to told her the serial number and many thing before she know that this model is available.

    From the all answer I get. It seem like they not aware this problem yet in Nederland. Or they not being train yet what they have to do. Or they being trail only say do what the box say if you do not want it just return and buy something else.

    I also go to Samsung Service Center (Maastricht) that in the Vadafone shop . First thing i feel is they not welcome me as I am a customer because I did not but the phone from them. What they only say just try to call to where i buy this phone. So what the point to be a Samsung Service Center if you not help costumer who buy the Samsung phone.

    Now i think i have to wait till this thing be aware in Nederland.

    If someone also from NL whom have this phone. Do you have a same problem ?

    thank you for reading