Two full weeks ahead of its intended simultaneous worldwide release, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has broken its street date and is available for purchase from retailers in Samsung’s homeland of Korea, albeit “unofficially”.
The move has taken a bit of the polish off an carefully-planned marketing build-up for Samsung. The Korean electronics giant is reportedly none too pleased, and is said to be investigating the situation quite closely to discover why this has happened, and prevent it from occurring again.
Korean carrier SK Telecom breached Samsung’s strict sales embargoes, making the phone available for sale on Thursday – seemingly to get around a looming 45-day ban on accepting new customers. That ban is itself a penalty leveraged against the carrier (and others) for providing illegal phone subsidies, and could damage early sales of the phone on Samsung’s home turf.
Of the broken street date, Samsung told CNET:
Samsung have provided mobile carriers with a limited number of units for marketing and pre-sales activities, but 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.
It’s a risky move by any company involved with Samsung to risk their relationship and potentially the availability of future phones to their network. SK Telecom may face consequences for the breach of trust, but with a large share of South Korea’s telecommunications market Samsung would need to be careful not to damage its own sales in penalising the carrier.
While this has also been known to happen in the games industry, don’t hold your breath for others to follow suit and break the street date worldwide. Samsung also stated that despite this situation, there are no plans to release the device prior to its intended April 11 sales release.
If you’d like to try out the Galaxy S5 in Australia, you can find it in Samsung’s Experience Stores and in some Vodafone stores. Unfortunately you won’t be allowed to buy the device and walk out of the store with it until April 11.