WASHINGTON: US telecommunications firm AT&T and German rival T-Mobile announced they would halt exchanges of recalled Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones pending investigations into reports of fire-prone batteries.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall on September 15 of the Galaxy Note7, the newest smartphone by Samsung Electronics, and said they could be exchanged for a new version of the Note7 with a battery modified to prevent serious fires and burns.
Since then, there have been reports that the batteries in the new Galaxy Note7 devices have overheated and been involved in fires.
“Based upon recent customer reports and ongoing investigations by Samsung, AT&T is no longer exchanging customers into new Note7s at this time while we wait for the outcome of the investigations,” AT&T said in a statement.
AT&T said it would still offer customers the option to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other device of their choice.
T-Mobile said that it too was halting the exchanges, as well as sales.
“While Samsung investigates multiple reports of issues, T-Mobile is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note7 and exchanges for replacement Note7 devices,” the company said in a statement.
AT&T said it had not been selling Note7s since Samsung and the CPSC instructed the company to stop selling Note7 devices purchased before September 15.
Samsung decided on September 2 to halt the sale of the Galaxy Note7 and recall those sold to fix the lithium-ion battery problem.
But this decision is unlikely to ease consumer worries amid the new reported incidents linked to the replacement phones.
According to some analysts, the cost of the recall operation could be up to $2 billion. The South Korean company issued Friday a stronger-than-expected operating profit forecast for the third quarter despite the impact of the recall.
Samsung, the world’s leading smartphone maker, is facing growing competition from Chinese firms, its historic US rival Apple as well as Google, which just announced its own smartphone. AFP