Samsung Galaxy S5 Releases in South Korea Without Samsung's Consent

( [email protected] ) Mar 27, 2014 11:22 AM EDT
(Photo: Samsung)

Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone went on sale early in Korea today, leaving Samsung a bit puzzled as to how SK Telecom bypassed the originally announced April 11th release.

South Korea's top mobile carrier has announced that the Galaxy S5 is now available for 866,800 won (US$806.1) with a loyalty discount down to 660,000 won for long-term subscribers. Not to be left in the dust, South Korea's other two mobile carriers, LG Uplus and KT Corp, have also begun sales of Samsung's flagship smartphone more than two week early.

While Samsung stated only a day earlier that early release rumors were false, it does confirm that these early sales were not given prior consent by the electronics giant. "We are extremely puzzled about SK Telecom's launch of the Galaxy S5," an official from Samsung's mobile division said. "Although SK Telecom had asked for permission to start the sales of the model this month, we have consistently neglected the request."

While Samsung goes on to clarify that legal action is not being discussed at this time, they are investigating the matter to find out what happened.

But SK Telecom's response seems like the early release was no accident or miscommunication. "We just wanted to provide the device to local users as soon as possible. It is for the good of our subscribers."

Some are even speculating that Samsung was behind this "leak" to better compete with the highly praised HTC One M8 smartphone that's set for release very soon.

The timing of SK's early release may also be in response to the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning's ruling to impose 45-day suspensions on mobile carriers for providing illegal finance incentives to push mobile customers to switch carriers. Since SK's suspension will run from April 5 through May 19, it only makes sense that they opted to take advantage of the Galaxy S5 before that suspension.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Apple iPhone 6: Which One Is for You?