S5 launches early at home to counter regulator action
Samsung’s latest flagship debuts in South Korea amid sales embargo on carriers
South Korea's three mobile operators have agreed to bring forward the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S5 to today, in an attempt to lessen the impact on sales of the handset by a regulatory ban, Reuters reported.
SK Telecom Co Ltd, KT Corp and LG UPlus Corp operate in a market where smartphone penetration has reached 70%. All three carriers broke industry rules by subsidising handset costs by more than KRW270,000 ($250).
South Korea's largest operator by subscribers, SK Telecom, is barred from selling handsets to new customers, and from upgrading phones for service contracts that are less than two years old, from April 5 to May 19. KT's ban lasts from March 13 to April 26, and LG UPlus has been banned from March 13 to April 4 and from April 27 to May 18.
The Galaxy S5 was due to launch on April 11 and concerns were rife that sales, which were already expected to be weak due to a lack of standout enhancements in the new model, would further suffer from the regulatory action.
Samsung's worldwide sales of the S5's predecessor, the Galaxy S4, missed projections in the fourth quarter, as the global market leader maker lost ground to Apple's iPhone 5S in the US and Japan.