“The Galaxy S5 could be shipped a bit earlier in other countries including the U.S. if overseas mobile carriers continue to pressure Samsung,” said Kim Hong-sik, an analyst from Hana Daetoo Securities.
Other market watchers also said a premature global release is likely since the floodgates have already been opened in Korea.
For now, mobile carriers abroad have started taking preorders but have yet to specify the exact shipment date.
They did, however, confirm that shipping for preorders will start in early April, touching off speculation that an earlier global release may be possible.
The carriers also did not acknowledge April 11 as the official release date.
“Verizon has said it will carry the Samsung Galaxy S5, but we have not made any other details about pricing or availability public as yet,” said Debra Lewis, an associate director of Verizon Wireless’ corporate communications team, hinting at the possibility of an earlier release in the U.S.
Other global telecom firms including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are said to be planning to ship orders several days ahead of April 11, according to news reports.
This means the carriers would, as the local telecoms had done, be pushing ahead with the launch regardless of Samsung’s wishes.
In such a case, however, supply would be a major hurdle, industry watchers said.
Samsung would have to secure at least 5 million units for a worldwide release, and whether its factories both at home and overseas are ready to churn out such a number remains to be seen.
In Korea, Samsung is rumored to have given only 3,000-5,000 handsets to each of the three domestic mobile carriers. A nationwide release requires a minimum 30,000-40,000 units, according to industry sources.
One source close to Samsung said the factories are currently running 24-7 in order to meet the demands from overseas mobile carriers.
On Thursday, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus started selling the Galaxy S5 here.
SK Telecom and KT are said to have pressured Samsung into supplying the Galaxy S5 because both will be undergoing business suspensions at the time of the original global release.
LG Uplus’ business suspension does not coincide with the original launch date.
Samsung had no choice but to comply with the two, since without the support of the nation’s two largest carriers, it would be difficult to propel the lackluster Galaxy S5 to the top.
Others believe Samsung and SK signed an under-the-table deal as both knew they could not survive without mutal support.
“This also could have been a part of promotions conducted jointly by Samsung and SK Telecom to get people to pay more attention ahead of the global release,” said another source close to the matter.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)