At a press conference in Seoul, Samsung has confirmed that it will recall around a million Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones that have been sold to consumers and shipped to retailers around the world. 50,000 Galaxy Note7 owners in Australia -- will join a massive recall conducted over potential battery fire risks.
Samsung Australia has confirmed to Gizmodo that the recall will affect the company's Australian Galaxy Note7 customers. In a statement, a Samsung spokesperson apologised for the issue, and said that the company will offer repair, refund or a replacement device to customers affected. More information on the procedure will be shared in the coming weeks.
"Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.
"To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally. There have no reported incidents in Australia. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.
"For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will provide a resolution of their choice including a replacement, repair or refund over the coming weeks.
"We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the customer experience is as convenient and efficient as possible. We will have an update for Australian customers early next week."
Korea's Yonhap News, reporting from the press conference, said that Samsung has received 35 reports of battery defects or fires at its service centres, and has determined that the phone's battery cells caused the issue. CNN reports the worldwide recall is being initiated "after reports of the device catching fire while charging".
The recall announcement, made by senior Samsung official Koh Dong-jin, worldwide head of the company's smartphone handset business division, was made alongside the release of results of an internal Samsung investigation into the reported fires, which occurred while the phones were being charged. The recall will be conducted over the coming days through Samsung and its sales partners.
Samsung is undertaking the unprecedented move out of an abundance of caution over the potential battery issue, with the company's spokesperson saying it was very sorry to inconvenience customers. The battery defect rate of the Note7, Samsung says, is only 0.0024 per cent. Planning for the recall, including manufacturing replacement batteries and shipping them to regional centres for repair work, is expected to take two weeks.
Regional recalls -- like within Australia -- will be further detailed in coming days. Samsung will coordinate the Australian recall with the help of the third-party retailers and its carrier partners who sold the phone to consumers. Carriers like Optus and Vodafone have already contacted customers to make them aware of the issue and eventual recall.
Gizmodo first reported the recall on Thursday, and Australian retailers and mobile network operators Friday pulled the phone from sale across all stores. Throughout the day, retailers like JB Hi-Fi and carriers like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone suspended sales of the Galaxy Note7, telling Gizmodo the phones had been "quarantined" at the request of Samsung. Samsung's ooewn online store showed the Note7 as "temporarily out of stock", and international sales were halted as well.
There have been no reports of any fires or incidents with any Galaxy Note7s in Australia. Speaking to Korea's Yonhap News, an unnamed Samsung official said that the potentially faulty batteries were installed in "less than 0.1 per cent of the entire volume" of Galaxy Note7s sold so far. Batteries for Note7 in different regions were produced either in China or in Korea by partners of Samsung's SDI battery subsidiary, and it is believed that the Korean variant is the one affected, but all phones will be recalled regardless.