Yesterday, we reported that the various version of the 'carrier unlocked' Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are region locked. That is true, except, as it turns out, when it's not. The issue seems to be much more complicated than first reported.
Apparently, the Asian and Australian versions of the device are not region locked at all. Additionally, to complicate things further, the 'carrier-unlocked' EU and American versions are not actually region locked either, unless you first activate them with a SIM card from outside your region. If you do happen to first activate it using a SIM from outside your region, it immediately region locks the device. The likely reason Samsung went with this approach was to trap grey (unauthorized) importers of Samsung phones.
Luckily, If you are unlucky enough to have purchased a 'carrier unlocked' Galaxy Note 3 and accidentally region locked it, there is a way you can back out of it to fix the problem. You simply need to take it to an authorized local (to your region) Samsung service center (like your carrier) and they can unlock it for you. Here's a statement from Samsung UK on the matter,
It's great to see that things weren't as bad as we originally thought. Does this affect your purchase decision for the GNote3?"In order to provide customers with the optimal mobile experience in each region including customer care services, Samsung has incorporated the ‘regional SIM lock’ feature into Galaxy Note 3 devices. The product is only compatible with a SIM-card issued from a mobile operator within the region identified on the sticker of the product package. When the device is activated with a SIM card issued from the other region, the device may be automatically locked until it is released at the dedicated service centre.
Once a device is activated normally, the regional SIM lock is automatically released. Users can enjoy the roaming service as usual and can use other region’s SIM card when traveling. The regional SIM lock has been applied to the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S4 devices through a software update in selective markets. The regional SIM lock does NOT affect the device’s features and performance. Users can continue to enjoy all the advanced features of our products."