Parallel import: Samsung smartphones are not included in Russia. How to solve a problem

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The Russians are faced with the remote blocking of Samsung smartphones imported through parallel imports. Samsung has confirmed that it does indeed block them. At least every fifth such mobile phone is subject to the problem. There are several ways to bypass the system, one of which costs 5,000 rubles. It can also help to go to court if the locked smartphone is imported from a country that is a member of the EAEU.

Samsung excommunicates Russians from their smartphones

Samsung smartphones imported to Russia under the terms of parallel import may not be activated, which will make it impossible to use them in the country. Izvestia writes about this with reference to phone sellers and specialists in the field of subscriber equipment.

The problem does not concern all smartphones of the Korean vendor – so far it appears only on 20% of gadgets imported under the new rules. In other words, every fifth such smartphone will refuse to work in Russia. According to the sources of the publication, in May 2022, about 50 thousand “gray” Samsung smartphones were imported into Russia.

In this case, the problem lies in the regulations of the Korean company. She demands that her smartphones be activated only in those countries for which they were intended from the very beginning. According to sources of the publication, such a problem is observed so far only with Samsung smartphones. This company stopped deliveries of its equipment to Russia in early March 2022, three days after Apple did the same. However, with the activation of the iPhone, imported into the country through the “gray” channels, there are no problems yet.


Buying a Samsung smartphone in Russia can result in a series of problems and unforeseen expenses

Parallel imports are “grey” imports legalized by the Russian authorities in the spring of 2022 after the exodus of foreign companies from Russia. The list of brands that fall under the parallel import program consists of 200 items. Samsung and Apple are present in it.


In theory, it is possible to bypass Samsung’s restriction on activating smartphones from other countries, moreover, even in several ways. The only question is how convenient they will be for the end user.

The first method implies that a user who has bought a Samsung smartphone delivered to Russia under the terms of parallel import has a SIM card of the telecom operator of the country from which it was brought. You need to activate the smartphone with this SIM card, after which you will need to talk on it for several minutes.

The second way is to contact the official Samsung service, which is still operating in Russia. Employees will send a request to the manufacturer and, in case of a positive decision, will receive a regional unlock code. Such a service costs 5,000 rubles, and the waiting time for the code will be within two weeks, Izvestia writes.

The interlocutors of the publication argue that self-flashing the smartphone in the vast majority of cases will not solve the problem. Buying a “gray” smartphone in a large retail chain, and not from a private seller, in their words, is also not a panacea – a refusal to activate it can also go to him.

Russian ingenuity helps out, but not always

As of June 17, 2022, there were several really working ways to solve the problem with blocking of new Samsung smartphones that did not require large costs for roaming and repairs at the service center. One of them is the purchase of a tourist SIM card in a Russian communication salon.

The second way is to buy a smartphone imported from Kazakhstan. Such devices on the territory of Russia are not yet blocked, according to the interlocutors of the publication.

The third method, which has already been tried by some retailers who have joined the parallel import program, is to activate mobile phones directly in the country of purchase. This saves users from any problems with self-activation, but in the end they get a gadget that has already been turned on by someone before them.

CNews Analytics: Atlas of the Russian Internet of Things market

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However, this increases the risk of third-party programs, including malware, on the device. In addition, Samsung can detect such a smartphone by seeing that it was activated under one account, and it is operated under another. The result can be re-blocking.

Potential Consequences

Samsung representatives told the publication that the policy prohibiting the activation of a smartphone outside the intended country, the company has been in effect for several years.

But, if until March 2022 there were no problems with the “white” import of Samsung smartphones to Russia, now the number of cases when a user is faced with a blocking of a freshly purchased gadget can increase dramatically, sources say. In their opinion, in the future this may hit the popularity of the Korean vendor’s mobile phones.

It should be noted that the interest of Russians in Samsung smartphones has already begun to fall. So, if in May 2021 they occupied 28% of the Russian mobile market and firmly held the first place, then a year later they rolled back to the second line, and their share fell to 14%. (MTS statistics)

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Samsung managed to move the Chinese company Xiaomi. At the end of May 2022, its smartphones occupied 28% of the Russian market. She, unlike Samsung and Apple, did not completely stop the supply of her equipment to Russia, but only halved them.

The risk of an avalanche of lawsuits

As of June 17, 2022, Samsung has not announced its withdrawal from Russia. So far, the supply of products has only been stopped, plus in the spring of 2022, the company briefly stopped its plant near Kaluga. In June 2022, it started working again, but all its products are now exported.

Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. As the head of the direction “Resolution of IT & IP disputes” of the law firm “Rustam Kurmaev and Partners” told the publication Yaroslav Shitslenow the company certifies its products according to the rules of the EAEU.

“If the phone was imported from the territory of the country of the union, where the import was made legally, then blocking and denial of warranty service may be considered illegal,” said Yaroslav Shitsle. “In this case, the user or retailers can make claims against the company, including for the recovery of damages.”

In other words, if a user who bought a Samsung smartphone brought from one of the countries – members of the EAEU, and it turned out to be blocked, he will have the right to go to court. “If the goods were imported from outside the EAEU country, then there will be no legal obstacles to blocking smartphones for the company,” summed up Yaroslav Shitsle.

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