Intentionally frustrating... part 1
As end-users, we naturally look at region locking as a restriction to our use. Restricting us, of course, isn't the ultimate objective for Samsung... they're using our reaction to having our movement and choice restricted as a means to a different end. They want something more from us than just our freedom... and it's a multi-million dollar per month objective.
In the first 60 days of the Note 3 being on the market, we bought 10 million units at quite a range of prices. There was competition... between the Samsung-authorized distribution network -- where a lot of people paid top dollar -- and a parallel system of resellers who, relying heavily on Internet commerce, sold many of us the same phone at deeply discounted prices. Had we bought all 10 million N3's at the discount price during that 60-day period, we would have spent 3.4M USD less than if we'd paid top dollar for them all.
With such a significant amount of our cash in the balance, Samsung decided to swing things in its favor. After all, if to that figure -- $3.4M annualized against sales projections -- you add the analogous potential swing in annual sales for all the other phones Samsung intends to region lock, then you easily have an eight-figure pot of gold. That's our money, which Samsung believes it could get its hands on if it could only eliminate the independent resellers who a) are buying phones in bulk lots locally and distributing them globally and b) appear to be satisfied with a much smaller profit margin than Samsung wants to take.
Samsung's refusal to perform out-of-region repairs has been targeted at eliminating this competition, but it just hasn't been enough to kill it off.
So someone high up at Samsung Electronics demanded a fix and the organization responded with region locking: rigging phones which are likely to wind up wholesale in the hands of freemarket resellers... with a software lock Samsung could control over the air.
While the legality of this strategy could be questioned, it's well designed for meeting the task Samsung had set out for itself, taking advantage of its market dominance and the vulnerability of the reseller.
Only Samsung has the resources to be a wholesaler in every market. With region locking, the much smaller free-market resellers, many of whom are buying phones one lot at a time and don't have the capital to buy bulk lots in every market, are now incented to stop selling those phones outside the region they bought them from, since consumers would end up with phones that are useless to them.
We all know what happened next: Samsung Electronics' senior management decided to embed this software lock into all Note 3's without telling anyone, not even their employees, bringing a big surprise to market along with the phone. Many consumers preordered the phone with no idea about the soft lock they were receiving or bought the N3 subsequent to launch and in the approved region, accepting Samsung's word that the unlocking process was simple and straightforward.
i am in Costa Rica now and got n9005 from amazon, and they sent me european model
and I am not able to use the phone....
Others, like you, imdogdream
, have purchased out-of-region phones through the Internet and found themselves either paying roaming charges for local calls or not being able to use their phones at all. Your Amazon purchase is precisely the transaction Samsung was targeting with region locking. Even people who bought their phones over a year ago are experiencing what you have, due to Samsung's rolling out of region locking through the firmware-updating process.