[THE INVESTOR] Smartphone makers will be required to report immediately when their handsets explode or burst into flames in a new set of phone safety regulations to be announced next week, a government source told The Investor.
“When the new rules come into effect, phone makers will also have to immediately launch an investigation -- right after the submission of the report -- to prove if the fires or explosions were caused by flawed parts or external force,” an official from The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on the condition of anonymity.
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The ministry is scheduled to announce the regulations on Feb.6 in the aftermath of the so-called Galaxy Note 7 crisis caused by faulty batteries.
“In the latest Galaxy Note 7 incident, it took 10 days for Samsung to report the first case to the government. At the time, there were no timeframe requirements in notifying the authorities,” the official said.
The new rules are expected to be implemented within a year, after the ministry holds hearings with related companies and industry experts. This means Samsung’s upcoming flagship Galaxy Note 8 may not be subject to the toughened regulations.
Samsung recently held its own press conference announcing the results of internal investigations into its exploding Note 7 phones. At the time, it pledged to adopt higher safety standards for batteries and smartphones.
Also on Feb.6, the ministry will announce the results of a government-led investigation it conducted along with state-run Korea Test Laboratory into the Note 7 series. The results are expected to be similar to those by Samsung and third party laboratories, including Underwriters Laboratories and Exponent.
On Jan.23, Samsung ruled that the Note 7 problems were caused by defects in batteries made by its sister firm Samsung SDI and China’s ATL. The faulty batteries overheated due to damaged electrodes and a lack of insulation tapes, Samsung said.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)