Samsung Electronics

Samsung suspends production of recalled Note 7 after more battery explosions

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 October, 2016, 11:46am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 October, 2016, 11:57am

Samsung Electronics has suspended production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, a report said Monday, a month after a recall prompted by battery explosions and a day after two major overseas distributors halted replacements.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, declined to comment on the report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency which was sourced to an unidentified official with an unnamed Samsung supplier.

The official told Yonhap the decision to temporarily halt production was taken in cooperation with consumer safety regulators from South Korea, the United States and China.

Samsung decided on September 2 to halt the sale of the Galaxy Note 7 and recall those sold after complaints that its lithium-ion battery exploded while charging.

With images of charred phones flooding social media, the unprecedented recall was a humiliation for a firm that prides itself as an icon of innovation and quality.

The recall process initially stumbled with some mixed messages, but seemed to be on track until last week when reports emerged of similar problems with some of the replacement phones.

US authorities had to evacuate a Southwest Airlines flight in Kentucky last week for an incident that involved a replacement phone.

Authorities said a Samsung smartphone started smoking and making “popping” noises, just moments after its owner had boarded the plane and turned off the device.

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Passenger Brian Green, 43, says the device was a Galaxy Note 7 he had picked up from an authorised AT&T retailer Sept. 21 as a replacement for another Note 7 phone he returned when Samsung announced a global recall a week earlier. The recall came after a series of incidents last month in which Note 7 batteries overheated or caught fire. But Samsung had promised that the replacement models were safe.

On Sunday, US telecommunications firm AT&T and German rival T-Mobile said they would halt exchanges of recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7s pending further investigations.

AT&T said it would still offer customers the option to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other device of their choice.

T-Mobile said it was halting sales of the Galaxy Note 7, as well as the exchanges.

Last month Samsung released a software fix for affected Galaxy Note 7 handsets to stop them from catching fire.

The software update was mandatory for 159 Note 7 devices bought by customers in Hong Kong and Macau between August 26 and September 1.

Samsung on Friday issued a stronger-than-expected operating profit forecast for the third quarter despite the impact of the recall which, according to some analysts, could cost up to $2 billion.

Additional reporting by Associated Press