Aussie telcos stop replacing Galaxy Note 7 over fire risk

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Aussie telcos stop replacing Galaxy Note 7 over fire risk

Waiting for outcome of Samsung investigation.

Australia's three biggest mobile telcos have stopped replacing Samsung's troubled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after multiple reports of new devices catching fire overseas.

Samsung started shipping replacement Note 7 stock to Australia on September 21 after withdrawing the device from sale over fire risks.

Reports of "isolated battery cell issues" that caused the phone to overheat and catch fire first came to light on September 2.

But last week reports began emerging that replacements for the smartphone were similarly catching fire.

Last Friday the US Federal Aviation Authority confirmed it was investigating an issue on a Southwest Airline flight where the aircraft was forced to evacuate after one of the replacement devices began smoking.

Over the weekend a US man reported waking up to his replacement Note 7 hissing and emitting smoke.

US telcos AT&T and T-Mobile have since said they would stop issuing replacement devices, and Australian telcos are now following suit.

Telstra said it had temporarily ceased shipping replacements while Samsung investigates the issue.

"We have asked Samsung to provide us with an update on their investigations as a matter of priority and will update our customers as soon as we learn more," the telco said in a statement.

"In the meantime we are helping customers with loan phones and for those who do not wish to wait for the exchange program a change-over to an alternative smartphone."

Vodafone said it would similarly stop replacing the smartphones following the overseas issues.

"We’ll keep customers updated on the status of this program as we receive more information from Samsung," a spokesperson said.

Optus initially said it was awaiting advice from Samsung, but later on Monday said it would also suspend replacing the devices pending the results of the Samsung investigation.

Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Singapore Airlines are among a number of airlines to temporarily ban use of the devices on their flights.

Samsung has so far recalled at least 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones across 10 markets. 

Update: Samsung has stopped producing the smartphones following the issues with the replacement devices.

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