We all know that the global Samsung Galaxy S5 release date is April 11, right? That much has been drummed into our heads since last month's launch at Mobile World Congress (MWC).
But wait! Korean consumers can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S5 now - from the country’s largest network by customer base, SK Telecom. What the…?
It’s all very dramatic, and to appreciate the full story we must rewind back to early March, and the news of a South Korean sales ban – applicable to the big three Korean mobile networks.
KT Corp is currently in the midst of its sales ban, prohibiting the network from signing up new customers or upgrading existing peeps, ditto LG UPlus (which actually has two separate restricted periods).
However, for big daddy SK Telecom, its punishment period runs from April 5 until May 19, encompassing the official Samsung Galaxy S5 launch date – and a full month plus thereafter.
As such, it’s perhaps not much surprise to hear that SK Telecom has jumped the proverbial gun, rather than sit and twiddle its thumbs for several weeks.
“We are very puzzled,” Samsung told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement. “SK Telecom strongly asked for an earlier release of the product but we delivered our stance that the global release date of April 11 remains unchanged.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for SK Telecom openly concedes: “We decided to release the product for a wider consumer choice of handsets before our operation suspension begins on April 5.”
In a further statement to The Verge, Samsung explains: "The official global launch date of the Galaxy S5 is April 11, as previously announced. Samsung has provided mobile carriers with a limited number of units for marketing and pre-sales activities, however the decision to release the device early in the Korean market was made by the mobile carrier itself, independently of Samsung.
“We express our regret at this decision and we are working to verify all the facts."