Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has suspended production of the Galaxy Note 7 as further reports have emerged of replacement devices also catching fire.
The first report of a Note 7 replacement phone, one that was supposed to have rectified the battery fault that led to a recall of the phone in September, emerged last week when a phone caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight.
According to reports, there are now five known cases of replacement phones cases of replacement Note 7’s catching fire, the most recent occurring in Houston, Texas. As a result of the reports, the four major carriers, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile have agreed to allow customers to exchange their phones for other models, or in the case of T-Mobile receive a full refund.
It’s not entirely clear whether the replacement phones are been completely withdrawn, however. Reports suggest that AT&T and T-Mobile have ceased selling them, and have been followed by carriers in other countries, with Australia’s largest providers Telstra, Optus and Vodafone having also withdrawn the phone from sale.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday that Samsung has temporarily halted Note 7 production in cooperation with authorities in China and the United States. According to CNBC, a South Korean government agency said it was monitoring reports that some of Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones had caught fire and repeated a warning that Galaxy Note 7 devices recalled by Samsung should not be used or charged inside airplanes.
Samsung has yet to officially confirm the production halt, but did say in a statement Friday following reports of replacement phones catching fire that it would “move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible. Samsung understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note 7 devices.”
Concerns may be a gross understatement at this point of time. The news that replacement phones also catch fire is disastrous for the South Korean phone maker, coming just as it was trying to bounce back from the recall of the Note 7, a phone that despite its propensity to catch fire was otherwise highly praised by reviewers.
Samsung stock dropped 3 percent to 1.651 million Korean Won ($1486.11) as of 1 p.m. local time as news of the further issues reached the market.