Word on the street is that the Galaxy S5 might be late and there is some concern that it might arrive at the same time as the iPhone this year, rather than just before it.
Last month, one of Samsung’s partner factories caught fire and there was a warning that this might affect initial availability of the Galaxy S5.
Samsung mentioned that the fire would not cause a big delay but now it appears that something else has gone wrong.
The South Korean manufacturer is said to be facing production problems with the 16 MP ISOCELL camera sensor. The sensor itself is OK but the coating process for the lens module is slowing everything down.
Samsung is said to be making headway in resolving the issue, but it is looking like it can’t meet its initial estimates of five to seven million units.
To make matters worse, regulators in South Korea have slapped the country’s mobile carriers with a 45 day ban. During the ban, carriers cannot enroll new customers, sell devices or even upgrade phones for existing subscribers.
This means that while the Galaxy S5 will go out in time, Samsung will only be able to sell four to five million units.
The ban has been imposed due to carriers subsidising phone costs more than they were allowed to. SK Telecom, the country’s largest carrier, serves the ban between April 5th and May 19th. If Samsung launches the Galaxy S5 in South Korea on April 11th, the carrier won’t be able to sell it.
Samsung is also said to be considering launching the Galaxy S5 before April 5th in South Korea to work around the carrier ban. It is unclear as to whether the manufacturer will have enough units available in time.
It could just say, “sod it” and ship as many of the phones as it can to foreign parts and delay a release in the lucrative Korean market. At least that way it will allow its four to five million phones to rain on the Apple’s parade somewhere in the world.