Maksym Yemelyanov - Fotolia
Consumer electronics giant Samsung has temporarily suspended production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone device amid reports that replacement devices issued as part of a product recall had caught fire.
In a brief statement, Samsung said: “We are temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note 7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters.”
According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, an unnamed Samsung official said the halt in production was in cooperation with safety regulators from China, South Korea and the US.
This comes after Samsung was forced to recall 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphone devices worldwide because a number were found to have faulty batteries that made them vulnerable to overheating and catching fire.
According to the company, affected batteries overheated and caught fire when the anode-to-cathode came into contact. It described this as a “very rare manufacturing process error”.
As a result, a number of airlines have now forbidden use of the device on board their aircraft, and US mobile networks AT&T and T-Mobile have both stopped issuing replacement devices. At the time of writing, the Note 7 remained available for sale on all four UK mobile networks.
An EE spokesperson commented on the latest developments: “EE considers the safety of its customers to be of the utmost importance. Following recent media reports of further Note 7 issues in the US and Canada, we are currently reviewing options and are in direct contact with Samsung on the matter.”
David Cheetham, market analyst at XTB, said the latest development would come as an “unwanted headache” for Samsung shareholders, who had enjoyed a solid year of growth.
“Shares have fallen back from that peak today, as some investors may have decided to lock-in profits in light of the latest news which could see a second product recall in as many months - a phenomenon that is unheard of in the industry,” he said.
Details of how to exchange affected handsets in the UK can be found on Samsung’s website.
Update: 3:00pm 10 October
EE has subsequently announced that it has suspended Note 7 exchanges for a limited number of customers who had pre-ordered devices and had them delivered prior to 2 September 2016. If a customer who pre-ordered a Note 7 still has one, EE has now asked them to return the device and will be offering either an exchange to the Galaxy S7 Edge, or a permanent change to a handset of their choice. It added that only customers who had pre-ordered a Note 7 would have received one, as Samsung has not yet released the device through retail channels in the UK.
Three told Computer Weekly that it had suspended exchanges of Note 7 devices. "We will be seeking guidance from them before we resume any further exchanges of the Note 7, as the safety of our customers is paramount," said a spokesperson.
Neither O2 nor Vodafone have yet responded to a request for comment. The Note 7 remained available for pre-order on both the O2 and Vodafone websites, although at the time of writing O2 was out of stock..........................................................................Update