Reports that Samsung has crippled its new Galaxy Note 3 by adding region-locking, making buyers of unlocked units attempting to use it in geographies outside of the area in which it was purchased subject to exorbitant roaming fees, are not entirely accurate.
A statement from Samsung clears the issue. The notes refer to being able to bring your unlocked device into other regions, but rather that the initial activation must occur in a particular region. This means that unlocked Galaxy Note 3 devices intended for the European market devices can be activated only with a SIM card from that region. After initial activation and commissioning, everything is as usual, you can use a SIM card from any region.
AllAboutSamsung.de asked Samsung for comment on the matter. Here are the essential points from Samsung’s official statement (original in German):
Samsung does lock some devices based on the region where they were purchased from. These devices are, besides the Note 3: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S4 Mini.
The region lock only affects units manufactured after the end of July 2013, that ship with the warning sticker on the box. Devices that have already been delivered, like those sitting in warehouses or in stores are not region locked.
If a user takes a new phone that hasn’t been yet activated to a country outside the home region, the user can unlock the phone at a local Samsung service partner for free.