Samsung had to kill the Note 7 to avoid further embarrassment
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has banned the sale of the beleaguered Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and warned Ugandan dealers against selling the device.
Samsung announced a recall of close to 2.5 million Note 7s in early September after numerous reports that the phones were exploding and catching fire. It is estimated that the recall, the worst in Samsung’s history, will cost the company $17b (about sh58trillion).
Reports indicate that Samsung suspended and later stopped the manufacture of the Note 7 and has postponed the release of the Note 8 until investigations into the fiasco are concluded.
UCC is mandated under section 5 (i) and (k) of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013 to set national standards and ensure compliance with national and international standards and to promote and safeguard the interests of consumers and operators of communications services and equipment.
“UCC is aware of the recent developments and concerns raised by Samsung regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and the subsequent events as updated in the October 13 2016 Safety Recall,” a statement from UCC read.
“The public is notified that UCC had not type approved this terminal for sale in Uganda as required by the law. UCC has directed the agents of Samsung to desist from distributing the said terminal in Uganda.”
“For safety reasons members of public who have bought/imported the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are advised to contact their respective dealers/agents/retailers for guidance on the matter,” the statement added.
According to persons familiar with the recall cited by the Wall Street Journal, Samsung was too quick to decide that the root cause of the fires was in the batteries supplied by its subsidiary Samsung SDI.
Samsung made this assumption based on lab analyses of defective Note 7 units showing “protrusions” in the phones’ batteries. Based on this assumption, Samsung decided to approve the production of 2.5 million replacement devices with batteries from a different supplier, ATL.
A second wave of fire incidents proved that the problem was not, in fact, with the Samsung SDI batteries, and in the end, Samsung had to kill the Note 7 to avoid further embarrassment.