We’re so used to talking about carriers being all buddy-buddy with smartphone manufacturers. Why can’t you unlock the bootloader on some hot new Android? Probably because the carrier told the OEM to disable that functionality, right? The close relationship between carriers and manufacturers is such an established part of this market that today’s news seems like something that should be positively unheard of: in defiance of Samsung’s wishes, a number of South Korean carriers have started selling the Galaxy S5, two weeks in advance of the official start for retail sales.
Here’s what happened: the government in South Korea has placed restrictions on the nation’s mobile carriers, preventing them from signing-up new customers during much of April, as punishment for offering illegal subsidies. Had they waited until April 11, when GS5 sales are supposed to begin, they would only be able to sell them to existing subscribers. So instead, they unilaterally decided to ignore Samsung’s wishes and just start selling the GS5 today.
In a statement, Samsung says “the decision to release the device early in the Korean market was made by the mobile carrier itself, independently of Samsung,” continuing, “we express our regret at this decision and we are working to verify all the facts.”