South Korean Operators Release Samsung Galaxy S5 Early To Beat Sales Ban

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus all ignore Samsung Galaxy S5 global launch date in order to maximise sales ahead of ban

Three South Korean operators have made the Samsung Galaxy S5 available to customers, ignoring the global launch date of April 11, as they seek to minimise the potential damage from sales bans issued by the country’s regulator.

SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus are all subject to government sanctions that limit their ability to sign up new customers and to replace phones for a period of 45 days as a punishment for illegal discounts.

Samsung Galaxy S5 (9)Early bird

These suspensions are set to begin in the same timeframe as the S5 launch, and the operators are concerned they will not be able to maximise the opportunity. SK Telecom is banned between 5 April and 19 May, while KT is banned until 26 April and LG Uplus is restricted until 4 April, with sanctions being lifted on 27 April.

Despite the operators’ desire to ensure that Samsung’s new flagship handset gets into the hands of as many people in its homeland as possible, officially the Korean manufacturer is unimpressed by the stunt, telling Bloomberg that it had rejected requests from SK Telecom to bring the launch date forward and told it to respect the global release date.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 was launched at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last month, and sports a range of new imaging and fitness features, alongside waterproof construction, advanced connectivity and a fingerprint sensor. It will hope to build on the success of previous Galaxy S handsets, which have helped Samsung become the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.

The handset is due to be released in the UK next month.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 MWC 2014

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