Samsung has temporarily halted production of its troubled Galaxy Note 7, according to sources familiar with the matter, the latest setback for the technology giant as it struggles to manage a recall of 2.5 million smartphones.
The move comes after a wave of new reports of overheating and fires with phones that have been distributed to replace the original devices which had a risk of catching on fire.
While Samsung insists that there has been only a small number of reported incidents globally, the production halt underscores the growing seriousness with which Samsung is dealing with its largest-ever product recall.
Samsung launched a recall of the 1 million Note 7 phones in the U.S. last month after discovering that the lithium-ion batteries could explode while charging.
The company said it was caused by one of its battery suppliers, which the company says it has stopped using and hadn’t used for any of its replacement phones in the U.S.
Under the recall consumers could exchange their Note 7s for a new device or obtain a refund.
“Samsung holds safety and consumer satisfaction as a top priority,” says Paul Brannen, Executive Vice President, Mobile Solutions, Samsung Electronics Canada.
“While there have been no confirmed incidents in Canada, Samsung is taking a proactive approach to address customer needs around the Note7 and immediately addressing any consumer concerns.”
New incidents raise questions about Samsung’s initial explanation of the battery problem. At least four Samsung phones emitted smoke or caught fire during the week, including one on a Southwest Airlines flight before takeoff.
On Sunday, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile said that they would stop issuing new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to replace the ones turned in by U.S. customers, adding a further twist to the already complex recall process.