AT&T Inc is considering stopping all sales of Samsung Electronics Co’s flagship Galaxy Note 7 over concerns about the smartphone’s safety, according to a person familiar with the situation.
A final decision was expected as soon as Friday, said the person, who asked not to be identified, because the deliberations are private.
AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook declined to comment.
Like many competitors, the second-largest US wireless carrier is already offering alternative smartphones to people who return Note 7 devices.
Samsung started replacing the Note 7 last month because of a flaw in its battery that can lead to overheating and pose a burn hazard to customers.
Airlines have banned passengers from using the smartphones on flights, and the evacuation of a Southwest Airlines Co airplane earlier this week was blamed on smoke caused by a replacement device.
AT&T’s move would be a further blow to Samsung. The wireless carrier is the third-biggest customer of the South Korean company, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Samsung is already facing a bill that analysts estimate stretches into billions of US dollars for the recall that it announced last month of 2.5 million Note 7 handsets.
Samsung said in a statement posted on its Web site that it understands the concern of the carriers and consumers over the newly released replacement Note 7 devices and the company will share findings as soon as possible.
Separately, a US appeals court on Friday handed Apple Inc a victory in one of its battles with Samsung, reinstating a US$119.6 million verdict in favor of the iPhone maker for patent infringement.
In the latest twist in a series of patent lawsuits between the smartphone giants, the federal judges ruled 8-3 in a rehearing of the case, reversing a panel of the same court in February.
Apple’s lawsuit contends that Samsung infringed on patents for “slide to unlock” and autocorrection, among others.
Apple had sought about US$2.2 billion at trial, only to have a jury award the California-based company US$119.6 million.
The case is separate from another suit in which Samsung was ordered to pay US$548 million for patent infringement to Apple and whose appeal is set for a hearing next week in the US Supreme Court.
Additional reporting by AFP
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