AT&T suspends Galaxy Note 7 exchange amid new fire reports

As reports mount of replacement phones also experiencing fires, the wireless carrier says it will offer other phones in exchange, but not a new Note 7.

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Galaxy Note 7: Too hot to handle?

Juan Garzon/CNET

AT&T said Sunday it has suspended exchanges of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 amid reports that replacement phones are also exploding or catching fire.

The wireless carrier said it will continue to accept customers' Galaxy Note 7s, but it will not offer the newer version of the phone in exchange. Instead, customers are encouraged to choose another Samsung phone or a phone from a different manufacturer.

"Based on recent reports, we're no longer exchanging new Note 7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents," Fletcher Cook, vice president for global media relations, said in a statement. "We still encourage customers with a recalled Note 7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other smartphone of their choice."

Samsung reiterated that it is conducting its own investigation of the reports and said it respects AT&T's decision.

"We recognize that a carrier partner has stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 in response to reports of heat damage issues, and we respect its decision," Samsung said in a statement.

The suspension is the latest headache for the Korean electronics giant, which has been grappling with massive a public relations mess. Samsung has recalled Galaxy Note 7 devices worldwide after a battery flaw caused dozens of the phones to explode or burst into flames.

Owners were encouraged to exchange their devices for newer ones that were said to correct the battery issue. But Samsung's nightmare has been compounded by reports that the replacement phones are experiencing similar problems.

The other three major carriers said Sunday they had no immediate plans to follow AT&T in suspending exchanges and sales, although Verizon did say that the Note 7 was unavailable through its channels due to being on backorder.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. PT: with Samsung statement.