Health warning: the message below is worrying.
I spoke yet again to the Samsung UK customer service team (+44 330 726 7864) this afternoon (at 5:40pm GMT) as I had not received the email I had been promised this morning with a statement on the region lock. A different rep spoke to me and had the following news to report to me:
- the Samsung UK telephone staff have had problems sending out emails today and therefore have not sent out the statement to me - which was fine by me as these things happen.
- 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.
- it makes no difference if here in the UK I buy the Note 3 from Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U, EE or Clove.
- I could buy another phone if I wanted to use a SIM from an operator outside the EU in my mobile - the rep volunteered this to me as it never occurred to me that they might seriously suggest such a policy.
- 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.
- no statement can be sent in an email to me by the Samsung UK telephone team to confirm this in writing.
- I can email email@example.com
with any questions but it might take up to 24 hours to respond. When I pointed out to the rep that I had already done just this, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
on Friday evening (27th) and not had a response in over 50 hours (including after checking my spam folder), I was told that sometimes the email team are very busy and she could not say for sure when I would receive a response to any question.
I have asked to get a call back from the Tier 2 rep who I spoke to on Friday (27th) but in the meanwhile I can only stand gobsmacked by the apparent madness of this corporate policy. For example:
- Samsung cannot even implement a draconian region lock policy (if that is what they really intend) properly and consistently - given that some European Note 3s with the European regional lock sticker are reported to be being activated and then successfully used outside the home region with SIMs issued by operators outside the home region - while others are able to activate with home region SIM but not then able to use out of region SIMs when travelling.
- Samsung (whether through its local offices, PR companies or employees) can brief against itself so that some Samsung offices will say one thing and others possibly within the same office, something completely different, on the same day, and day after day.
- the utter, utter lack of leadership from Samsung Global (Electronics) to coordinate and communicate their own policy (whether that policy is good or bad is almost irrelevant) clearly, consistently and transparently - or to communicate it at all.
- complete confusion among retailers, and among Samsung reps talking to retailers, here in the UK as to Samsung's region lock policy, to the extent they are even aware in the first place of the region lock policy and how it operates - which, from first hand exerience, I can say many are not.