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Galaxy S5 launches early in South Korea, Samsung ‘very puzzled’

There appears to be a certain amount of confusion surrounding the global launch of the Galaxy S5, which maker Samsung had earlier announced would take place on April 11.

A day after Samsung co-CEO JK Shin dismissed rumors that the S5 might launch sooner than expected, guess what happened – that’s right, it went on sale across South Korea at three of the country’s main carriers.

A spokesperson for the Korean tech firm told TNW on Thursday the carriers hadn’t asked for permission to begin selling Samsung’s new flagship device.

“The official global launch date of the Galaxy S5 is April 11, as previously announced,” the spokesperson said, explaining that Samsung had provided mobile carriers in the country with a limited number of S5 handsets for marketing and pre-sale purposes.

The spokesperson said the decision to start selling it ahead of of time “was made by the mobile carrier itself, independently of Samsung,” adding, “We express our regret at this decision and we are working to verify all the facts.”

In a statement to Bloomberg the company claimed to be “very puzzled” by the early launch.

Some observers might suggest Samsung’s been spooked into action by HTC’s recently unveiled and very well-received One M8 smartphone – set for release in the coming weeks – and as a result quietly nudged the carriers into action.

However, there’s another possible reason as to why they’ve started selling the S5 earlier than expected, though how they could’ve done this without permission from Samsung seems odd, to say the least. A 45-day ban on certain business operations of SK Telecom, LG Uplus, and KT Corp – imposed by the government for unfair business practices – kicks in before April 11, meaning sales of the new high-end handset will be severely restricted at that time.

While it may be the case that Samsung had no idea the Korean carriers would jump the gun with the sale of its S4 successor, it’s a safe bet it’s going to let this one go, though now we’re wondering if it’s going to launch ahead of schedule in other countries, too….

[Source: Korea Herald]

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