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Samsung Remotely Disables Note 7 Phones, but Verizon Doesn’t Play Ball

Variety logo Variety 12/9/2016 Janko Roettgers
© Provided by Variety

Three months after first announcing a recall of its Note 7 phone, Samsung is getting ready to force any remaining users of the device to stop using it. The company is pushing an over-the-air update that will stop the phone from charging later this month. However, Verizon announced Friday that it won’t send the update to its customers.

Samsung has been recalling its Note 7 because of multiple reported incidents of the phone catching on fire. The company initially was replacing affected phones with replacements, but eventually decided to kill the model altogether after some of those replacement phones caught on fire as well.

A reported 93 percent of all Note 7 owners have already turned in their phone int he U.S., and the Federal Aviation Administration has made it illegal to bring the phone on any flight within the U.S. With the new update, Samsung now wants to ensure that the remaining Note 7 owners stop using the device as well. The company plans to push out the software update beginning December 19, and reach all affected devices within 30 days.

However, not everyone is on board with the forced disabling of the phone. “Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note7 users that do not have another device to switch to,” said Verizon Global Corporate Communications VP Jeffrey Nelson in a statement Friday. “We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”

Verizon instead wants to rely on the existing recall, which also includes an additional rebate for any customers that purchase a different Samsung phone instead.

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