Popular online UK phone retailers Clove and Handtec are reporting some unusual and surprising news this morning – Galaxy Note 3 phones purchased in Europe are only compatible with European sim cards. The European version is the same one that will be sold here in Australia and many other locations around the world, the SM-N9005 with Snapdragon 800. For Europeans it means that they will be unable to use local sim cards when traveling outside of Europe making mobile use much more expensive, and for us here in Australia it removes the option of importing the phone from Europe which can sometimes be a cheaper alternative than local purchase. Both Handtec and Clove have cancelled International pre-orders for the phone for people outside of Europe.
Below is the sticker found on the box of the European Note 3:
At this stage we don’t know if this is a hardware restriction or a software restriction which could be circumvented later on. We also don’t know whether local Australian stock will retail with the same sim restriction for Australian sim cards only. This is an unusual and disappointing move by Samsung which ultimately disadvantages consumers by restricting grey imports and increasing the cost of mobile use when traveling overseas. Will this restriction affect your decision to buy the Note 3?
UPDATE: We’ve just received confirmation via XDA Developers that models sourced from the Americas will be locked to the Americas. It now looks increasingly likely that Asia Pacific models will be locked to the Asia Pacific region. We will provide an update once we have confirmation.