AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to push Samsung's Note 7 bricking update

A Note 7 with an exploding battery
Three of the four biggest carriers in the U.S. are complying with Samsung's new bricking update over continued fears of battery overheating in unreturned Note 7 devices. Image: Reddit/crushader

Verizon won’t allow Samsung’s software push to kill Galaxy Note 7 devices on its networks, but the other three major carriers said they will issue the update.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint each said they will issue Samsung’s software update, which will prevent unreturned Note 7 handsets from charging, essentially killing the phones. T-Mobile will push the software update starting Dec. 27, while AT&T and Sprint will do so in early January.

Samsung said last week that it will issue the update to render its Galaxy Note 7 useless in an effort to encourage users to return potentially defective devices.

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“We always want to do the right thing and make sure our customers are safe, so on Dec. 27 we will roll out Samsung’s latest software update, which is designed to stop all remaining Note 7 devices from charging,” T-Mobile said in a prepared statement. “These devices were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Oct. 13 and should no longer be used.”

Indeed, The CPSC officially announced a recall of the Note 7 after Samsung received 92 reports of batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage including fires. Samsung produced a second wave of devices, but issued a second recall after a replacement phone caught fire aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.

About 93% of all recalled devices have been returned, but Samsung said it's software update will be released starting Dec. 19 to brick any remaining unreturned devices. Verizon said last week that it won’t participate out of fear of leaving its customers who own the phone without a way to communicate.

“Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to,” Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said in prepared remarks. “We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”