In a move that seemingly surprised everyone—including Samsung—Korean carriers have released the Galaxy S5 a full two weeks early to avoid being caught up in an about-to-be-imposed ban.
As reported by AFP, South Korea's SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus started selling the phone on Thursday, ahead of the global April 11th launch. "We just wanted to provide the device to local users as soon as possible. It is for the good of our subscribers," an official from SK Telecom said.
The move comes off the heels of a 45-day ban against accepting new customers imposed by telecom regulators for illegal discounting of smartphones by the carriers. The ban is set to go into effect for SK Telecom starting April 5th, just before the official release of the GS5. KT and LG Uplus followed suit, as similar bans are set to go into effect for the smaller rivals.
Samsung responded in expected fashion, stating that they "express [their] regret at this decision and [they] are working to verify all the facts."
While I'm sure they aren't thrilled with their global launch hijacking, they know how important it is to remain the number one device seller in the market. A ban on signing new customers from South Korea's largest carrier would be quite a hit to Samsung's sales, so while they have to state displeasure publicly, I'm guessing that not too many feathers were ruffled by the move.