Friday, 18 July 2014

Problems with Samsung

To date the mobile support we have received from Samsung UK has been woeful.

Both Jan and I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone which I purchased when recently working in Saudi Arabia.  My model is an i9505 (4G) whilst Jan’s is an i9500 (3G).  Both phones are fitted with Vodafone SIM cards.

The problem

The 4G phone frequently has no network coverage.  You might immediately assume it’s the Vodafone network.  But it’s not!

If both phones are placed beside each other outside the boat Jan’s gets network coverage and mine doesn’t.

My phone has no network coverage whilst Jan’s has coverage

The SIM cards in the phones were exchanged and it made no difference to my phone.  I then inserted the Three Mobile SIM into my phone.  Still no coverage.

The next step was to take the back off the phone and connect it to the powerful external aerial on the roof.

Aerial plugged into the internal socket on the phone

The phone promptly achieved full network coverage.

I believe there is a problem (perhaps design problem) with the i9505 integral antenna.  So I wrote to Samsung UK explaining the problem and asking for advice. 

Amin replied

“Unfortunately you have contacted the UK based team and as such are unable to offer warranty information nor support for this particular device”. 

He informed me I must contact Samsung Saudi Arabia.

So I wrote back “The phone worked in Saudi Arabia.  Unfortunately it doesn't get any network coverage where I am in England unless I plug it into an external aerial.  It appears to work in major centres such as Birmingham and London.

Leaving aside the warranty issue. How can I get the phone checked and (if necessary) repaired in the UK?”

Today I received a reply from Maneesha.

“In regards to your email we are unable to offer you any repair information for the UK as you will need to have your device repaired in Saudi Arabia.

I have provided you the Global Support link where you can contact Samsung Saudi Arabia for more information.”

Obviously Amin and Maneesha are working to the standard script and haven’t yet realised what a tenacious bastard I can be!

I wrote back

“My contract in Saudi Arabia is finished and I have returned permanently to the UK.
If I want my phone repaired in the UK (I accept it's not under UK warranty) where do I take/send it in the UK?”

I’m now waiting for Samsung UK to repeat their standard answer of insisting on the phone being returned to Saudi Arabia for repair.  What I particularly want to do is expose the BIG SAMSUNG LIE!  Samsung Region Lock their phones.  They claim this is to tailor and enhance the local purchasers experience.  Whereas the vast majority of us believe it’s to prevent cheap parallel (grey) imports entering the market.  Samsung’s marketing strategy is to price their phones on what they believe the market will pay.  This means the buyer in the UK will pay more for the same phone than a buyer in a 3rd world country.  To prevent the importation of phones from cheaper markets Samsung firstly Region lock the phone.  This means the phone must be used for at least 10 minutes in the country/market of origin to unlock it.  Obviously this requires the security tape on the packaging to be broken.  If a phone is taken to another Region Samsung will not support it.  Even though it’s exactly the same phone. 


Peter and Margaret said...

Tom, I currently need you on my team!

Tom and Jan said...

And here was me thinking I'm already on your team! :-)

Jason Nitz said...

G'day Tom, just read your post about the Samsung phone issue. I'm not sure you've got it entirely correct as I bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 in Singapore while living in Indonesia. We were in Singapore for a week before heading back to Nth Sulawesi. The phone worked when I got back to Indonesia as it did when I returned to Australia 6 months later. Now where the situation may be different is I bought the international version of the phone as they offer this for all models. It was no more expensive for being "international" so perhaps this was the better option to take provided whoever sold the phone bothered to tell you about the "i" version available.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jason
Which parts do you believe I might have incorrect.
The Region Lock or the refusal to support the phone?

Jason Nitz said...

G'day Tom, not so much a case of being incorrect but it appears the region lock issue has lead to the support issue, however it's not always the case as had an international version been bought support has to be given from any region. As I mentioned I bought mine in Singapore but it ended up in Australia after a year and 3 countries later where it worked each time. I needed support from Samsung and was given it in Australia even though it was purchased in Singapore.

I'm not sure in your case if where you purchased yours was aware it would be used in other countries (and regions) but they should have offered the international version if that was the case. The region lock issue is certainly real but it can be overcome by getting the international version offered by Samsung - it all comes down to knowing it will be used in various countries and the good faith the salesperson mentions this option to you and gives you the i version.

Anyway, I ditched the S3 after various updates wouldn't install (the little green robot would continually appear) and went back to the iPhone as it "just works".

Dave Ralphs said...

have you tried forcing it to 2G/3G only?

It could be that as a Saudi phone its firmware isn't set up for the frequencies we use in UK 9Uk and Saudi are different for 3G and 4G)

Tom and Jan said...

Hi David
I've checked and the frequencies are the same. I've also switched it back to 3G without success. The phone works in major centres where I suspect the signal is very strong but not in lesser areas unless I plug it into the external aerial. The annoying thing is the i9500 does work!

Jaqueline Biggs said...

I am no expert on anything techie. I share your pain and frustration and can only suggest Tundra drums or smoke signals.

Tom and Jan said...


No pain! I want to play with them like a cat places with a mouse! :-)

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