Samsung has stopped production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones following claims that replacements for handsets which had a fault causing them to catch fire were also malfunctioning, reports have claimed.
The manufacturer is believed to have temporarily halted production of Note 7 lines, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
The news comes a month after Samsung announced a global recall of the Note 7 handset after some customers reported that its lithium-ion battery had exploded. Images and videos of burnt handsets were posted to social media, while airlines and cruise ships banned the devices amid fears they could explode in transit.
A replacement programme was introduced, however last week, reports of similar incidents involving the replacement handsets emerged. It is believed that more than one million handsets have already been sold worldwide.
Some US mobile providers, including T-Mobile and AT&T have now said they will not continue to replace the Note 7 model, saying instead that customers should return the handsets and take a refund - or select an alternative model.
A minimal number of UK customers have access to the handsets, as sales were suspended on the same day the handset was officially launched on this side of the Atlantic. However, some customers may have bought the phones abroad, or have the handset on pre-order.
British mobile operators said they were currently in discussions with Samsung about the future of the Note 7. O2 said it had not sold the handsets since the initial recall, while Three said it would wait for further updates before issuing any further replacements.
A spokesman for O2 said: “Safety of our customers is of upmost importance for us. We have not been selling the Note 7 since Samsung advised O2 in September that there would be an exchange programme for the phone. We are currently in discussions with Samsung and reviewing our options.”
A spokesman for Three said: “We are currently assessing the situation with Samsung and we will be seeking guidance from them before we resume any further exchanges of the Note 7, as the safety of our customers is paramount.”
Samsung said today that it was investigating potential problems with the replacement handsets.
It said: “Samsung understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note7 devices.
“We continue to move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible.”
Shares in Samsung plunged this morning, with analysts warning that the incident could have a longterm affect on consumer confidence.
“It’s all got very serious again,” said SR Kwon, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.
“They could just pull the Note 7 off the market, but the real concern is that it might not even end there,” Kwon said.
He added: “It will damage Samsung’s brand image and also affect the sales of other Galaxy smartphones.”