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Verizon won't push Samsung Galaxy Note 7 death update

The wireless carrier says the update, which would brick the device, could put customers who don't have another mobile phone in danger.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Josh Miller
Watch this: Samsung's Note 7 refuses to die on Verizon

Only one carrier's not going along with Samsung's plans to brick remaining Galaxy Note 7s.

Verizon Wireless, the biggest wireless provider in the US, said Friday it won't issue a software update that would prevent Note 7 devices from charging and would "eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices." Samsung earlier in the day announced plans for the update to make sure the remaining 7 percent of Note 7 owners turn in their phones.

"Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to," the company said in a statement. "We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation."

AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint on Friday said they will issue the software updates from Samsung. T-Mobile's update will come December 27, while AT&T will release the update on January 5. Sprint will push out the new software to its users on January 8.

Samsung said in a statement that "this software update is intended to remove the remaining Note 7 devices from the market to ensure the safety of our customers." In the US, 93 percent of recalled Note 7 devices have been returned to the carriers and Samsung.

The Note 7, which hit the market in mid-August, was expected to solidify Samsung's lead in the mobile market after a strong showing with its Galaxy S7. The company had just begun to regain its swagger after stumbling the previous year with lackluster products.

Then came the battery problems, which caused some units to overheat and catch fire. Samsung issued a global recall of the popular device in September. But then some replacement units started having the same problem. That caused Samsung to issue a second recall in mid-October and permanently stop production of the device. It's offering Note 7 owners $100 to exchange the device for another Samsung phone.

In November, Samsung said it would start limiting the Note 7's charging abilities in the US, preventing the devices from charging beyond 60 percent. It also issued a reminder pop-up notification every time a consumer charged, rebooted or turned on the screen of their Note 7 device.

In other markets around the globe, like New Zealand, Samsung already has cut off access to wireless networks for customers still using their Note 7 devices.

Update at 1:35 p.m. PT with T-Mobile comment.
Update at 1:50 p.m. PT with Samsung comment.
Update at 2:15 p.m. PT
with AT&T and Sprint details.