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Samsung Galaxy S5 could be stung by Korean carrier ban

The Galaxy S5 will go on sale smack in the middle of a ban that will keep Korean carriers from adding new customers or allowing existing customers to upgrade phones.

Samsung's Galaxy S5 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy S5 might have some trouble getting out of the gate when it hits store shelves next month.

Samsung plans to launch the Galaxy S5 in Korea on April 11. But on Friday, South Korea's communications watchdogs instituted a 45-day ban, starting this week and extending to May 19, that bars the country's carriers from accepting new customers or upgrading existing customers to new handsets, according to a report from Reuters.

That essentially means the Galaxy S5 could be languishing on store shelves for some time.

The odd ban comes after Korea discovered that the country's major carriers, including SK Telecom, KT Corp, and LG UPlus, were illegally subsidizing smartphones. The country stipulates that smartphones can only be subsidized by about $250. Some carriers, reports claim, were offering subsidies in excess of that.

Rather than force all carriers to suffer through a 45-day ban, Korea has placed roughly five-week bans on each carrier. The bans are staggered so customers could still technically upgrade, depending on the time and their carrier. KT Corp, for example, will see its ban start on March 13 and remain in place until April 26. SK Telecom's ban starts on April 5.