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Note 3 region lock vanishes after first activation, Samsung says

In a statement sent to ease the minds of concerned customers, Samsung also says it's imposed the region lock on the S4 and Note 2.

Samsung has responded to concerns over its new Note 3 smart phone's region lock, telling customers that the SIM-locking tech inside its new mobile will disappear after the first activation.

"The product is only compatible with a SIM-card issued from a mobile operator within the region identified on the sticker of the product package," Samsung explains, in a statement sent to CNET UK.

"When the device is activated with a SIM card issued from the other region," the South Korean tech giant continues, "The device may be automatically locked until it is released at the dedicated service centre."

In other words, if you buy a Note 3 from another region and try to turn it on with a local SIM-card, the phone will clam up, and you'll have to take it to Samsung to get it unlocked again.

The good news however is that if you do activate the Note 3 using a SIM-card local to the region you purchased it from, the region lock will evaporate, and you'll be able to take your phone abroad and use foreign SIM cards with no fuss.

"Once a device is activated normally, the regional SIM lock is automatically released." Samsung stated. "Users can enjoy the roaming service as usual and can use other region’s SIM card when travelling."

Galaxy S4 and Note 2 also locked

Samsung says it's used a software update to apply the same lock to the Galaxy S4 and the Note 2, "in selected markets."

So why has this happened? Well, it's likely that Samsung wants to limit imports of its phones from one part of the world to another.

Doing so could give Samsung more control over the cost of its mobiles. If, for instance, the Note 3 was particularly pricey in the UK compared to the US, under the region-lock you wouldn't be able to buy one from the states and use it over here with a British SIM-card -- not unless you first activated it using an American SIM.

This is probably news for most shoppers though, who will have been concerned by the prospect of shelling out about £600 for a phone they can't use with any other countries' SIM-cards.

GigaOM spied a report on Android forum XDA-Developers that claims a Swedish Note 3 owner who'd had the phone activated using a Swedish SIM was unable to get their Thai SIM to work. Whether this is an isolated incident, or whether in fact there's more to this story remains to be seen.

Are you tempted to buy the Note 3? Does Samsung's statement alleviate your fears? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.