AT&T is said to be thinking about stopping all sales of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 due to the continuing safety risk presented by the smartphone.
Samsung launched a global recall for the Galaxy Note 7 due to cases of the device's battery exploding. The replacement units that the company has offered in exchange for the potentially defective smartphones were said to be safe from the exploding battery issue, but one such device still caught fire while its owner was inside a Southwest Airlines airplane.
Thankfully, the airplane was still at the gate when the incident happened, which allowed all passengers and crew members to evacuate the aircraft. While there were no injuries, the explosion of a replacement unit presented an even bigger problem. If investigators confirm that the Galaxy Note 7 that caught fire was indeed a replacement unit, Samsung might have to launch a second recall program for the smartphone.
With Samsung still failing to address the safety problems of the Galaxy Note 7 though the replacement units, the confidence in the company that it would be able to fix the issue once and for all has dwindled. This could be the reason for the internal discussions in AT&T on ending sales of the smartphone, as Bloomberg reported, citing a source who is familiar with the matter.
According to the source, a final decision on whether AT&T will continue or stop selling the Galaxy Note 7 could come as soon as this evening.
If AT&T does decide to stop sales of the smartphone, it would be a massive blow to Samsung, as the carrier is its third biggest customer. In addition, if AT&T would pull the plug on Galaxy Note 7 sales, other carriers in the United States could choose to do the same, which would effectively cancel the smartphone's release in the country.
With the safety concerns surrounding the Galaxy Note 7 and the trust that consumers have in the smartphone almost completely obliterated, the only logical thing that Samsung can do would be to officially cease the production of the device and to move forward from the debacle by identifying what caused the issue and ensuring that it will never happen again in future products.
Samsung still has a good chance of bouncing back from the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, with the company still expecting to post an improvement in its third-quarter operating profit due to the success found by its chip and display businesses. It will likely be able to do so with another smartphone, however, and not with the Galaxy Note 7.