SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – Nine out of ten Galaxy Note 7 users in Korea were found to be holding on to their phablets, despite Samsung announcing it would halt production of the devices, meaning roughly 500,000 Note 7s are still being used in the country.
Samsung announced a permanent halt of the faulty phablet’s production on October 11, and began a refund and exchange program on the 13th. The exchange rate over the past weekend (October 15 and 16) settled at less than 5 percent, and has remained short of 10 percent since.
“I’m planning to take my time replacing my Galaxy Note 7, and watch how things unravel in terms of the exchange process and so on,” said 41-year-old Song from Seoul.
The company is currently offering 30,000-won ($26) vouchers and a 70,000 won subsidy for mobile plans for customers exchanging their phablets for other premium Samsung phones – the Galaxy S7 series or the Galaxy Note 5. It’s also refunding customers for smartphone cases and other accessories specific to the Note 7.
Of course, there are other options available in the market, including the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (to be launched Friday), LG’s V20, the Sony Xperia XZ, or the BlackBerry Priv.
But Galaxy Note 7 users are still stuck in a quandary as Samsung’s premium phones are at least six months past their launch date (for Galaxy S7 series) and becoming long in the tooth, while switching over to a whole different brand could be a tough decision for long-time Samsung consumers unfamiliar with other platforms.
Samsung is continuing to urge its customers to return their phablets, although it is not considering additional compensatory benefits such as replacing them with the upcoming Galaxy S8 series (rumored Q1 2017). The company also emphasized the potential dangers and further inconvenience from continued use of faulty phones once the exchange deadline (December 31) passes.
“Unlike the first recall process, the exchange rate is very low,” said a local telecommunications company official. “But the rate will pick up speed in the coming weeks with the launch of the iPhone 7, and the approaching high season for overseas travel (with major airlines banning Galaxy Note 7s on their flights).”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)