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Regional differences in costs for the same S21 Ultra phone

(Topic created on: 20-01-2021 09:28 PM)

Evening forumers. 


I have not posted this message in any way to cause an uprising or a storm on the forum !   


I have already happily pre-ordered my Galaxy S21 Ultra from the Samsung store last weekend,  and I am awaiting arrival next Friday.   I have previously purchased an S8+, S10+, S10e (for Girlfriend), S20 FE (for daughter), and a load of other Samsung products such as Dex and GearVR... I guess you could call me a Samsung fan for 5+ years ! 😂😂😂


However, whilst i was thinking about my upgrade from my Galaxy S10+ to an S21 Ultra, i did a bit of research of the pre-order deals across the 3 regions of USA, Australia and UK.   


The pricing strategy is very different in these regions, and the pre-order deals are also very different.   The attached picture below shows my calculations.  


In the UK we always suffer price inflation.  Whether this is due to VAT Tax or other reasons I do not know.  However whatever we buy in the UK market is generally inflated in costs.   A few months ago I bought a gaming laptop in the UK, and upon checking the US price it was about £500 cheaper.  This goes for most electronics and mobile phone purchases and we are certainly affected by regional "price hikes".   This is not a new thing, and it probably should be expected. 


The pricing differences can be seen from my comparisons.   I have done two comparisons between the 3 regions, which included a straight Galaxy S21 Ultra purchase, and also a second comparison for the trade of my Samsung S10 plus.  This purchase is for the top dog S21 phone 😀... the 512GB Ultra.  The lower storage options and the S21 and S21+ may calculate out different... as i didn't bother calculating them all.  


After taking into account the freebie / goodies in each region, you can see that with a straight purchase of the phone,  that the UK price was the most expensive at £1081, with AUD second at £1026, and the USA cheapest at £839.


In the case of the trade in of my S10+ phone, the Australia deal is the most expensive (due to a poor trade value) with the costs of £863 compared with the UK at £731 and the USA coming in at an amazing (effective) price of £438.  


The USA purchase is so drastically cheaper than other regions,  nearly £300 cheaper than the UK price, and more than that if you are attempting to trade a phone in Australia.   


This got me thinking about import duty, as I know a lot of people do prefer to buy their Samsung phone from the USA and ship over to the UK.   This is a question to all those that live in the UK with a USA version of the Samsung phone (Snapdragon variant) .  What kind of import tax is added on for the shipment between USA and UK ?  Do you suffer any regional problems when updates are rolled out by carrier / Samsung regional updates ? 


With this large price difference in purchase costs, then surely it is worth a look outside of the UK for purchase. I am certainly not about to change my UK store pre-order now, and I will happily receive my S21 ultra from the UK store next week, but maybe in future upgrades in a couple of years, I might look towards buying in the USA and shipment to the UK.   


Any comment or PM that anyone has experienced for the import duty from the USA would be appreciated. 


Kind Regards

Smiley 😀


galaxy costs.png

(NB: all these costs have been converted to GBP £, at the current exchange rates)

- Smiley

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro SM-R920 in Grey Titanium
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro SM-R510 in Graphite
Black Belt 

Five quick things come to mind as you are in the U.K.


1. U.S. prices tend to be quoted without Sales Tax, (VAT), which varies, I believe, from state to state. This may not apply to an exported phone.


2. If you import a U.S.A. Snapdragon model of phone you should be aware that there are 2 types of phone in the U.S. Carrier locked phones are just that, they are locked to and updated by the relevant U.S. carrier and you will need to be on their network for that. Unlocked U.S. phones still run carrier branded firmware which can be downloaded and flashed manually.


3. As was seen on the Samsung Galaxy S20 series and previous models, the U.S.A. Snapdragon chipset phones do not work on the global 5G networks, including the U.K., as the U.S.A. uses different bands... hence the Snapdragon chipset on these models as opposed to the Exynos chipset on the global models.


4. As for the Australian Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G phones, they are global Exynos models, SM-G998B, and if you want a non carrier model with stock Samsung firmware you will need to ensure it is a CSC, ( Consumer Software Customization or Country Specific Code), code XSA. Alternatively, if you are a competent and experienced user, you can download the unbranded stock U.K. Samsung firmware for CSC code BTU and flash it to your phone using the Odin PC suite. 


5. Last but not least, neither the U.S.A. or Australian phones will be covered by Samsung's warranty in the U.K.


See, also... 

Customs or Import duty for Mobile phones to United Kingdom

The above link is 3 years old but it may give you some pointers as regards Import Tax and Excise Duty and comes with a handy calculator.



Hope that helps. 

My device... Galaxy Z Fold5 5G 12/512GB (G946B D/S) CSC EUX. Android 14. One UI 6.1
Samsung Members Star ★★

Hi @smiley 


Unfortunately this has been the case for quite a while now. Market demand etc.


I recall threads from people who in the past have noticed that some countries would get better prices,  or better internal storage and Ram, and in some cases more access to different colours of the phone.


It's only recently that we in the UK were provided with promotional items such as Galaxy buds etc.


All we used to get was a Trade In if our previous phone if eligible. I didn't take this up as the trade in value wasn't a true representation of the value of the phone in my opinion.


I imported my N20 Ultra 5G from Hong Kong because I wanted the Snapdragon version. I'm not replying here to open up the Exynos vs Snapdragon debate as most know the key differences or can forum search.


The phone was £100.00 cheaper than the same Exynos version from Samsung UK and the trusted website I used paid the import fee's.


The phone comes factory sealed from Samsung Hong Kong and is unlocked to all networks and is not region locked either.


The only downside is that Samsung UK say they may not be able to support the phone in regards to the Samsung Warranty but the company I used applies their own 12 month warranty warranty and I also have my phone's covered by my Home Contents Insurance.


Nice phone !


Daily Driver > Samsung Galaxy s²⁴ Ultra 512Gb ~ Titanium Black.

The advice I offer is my own and does not represent Samsung’s position.
I'm here to help. " This is the way. "


Thanks for your comments. I am very much looking forward to receiving my S21 Ultra and thanks for your explanations... it makes things quite a bit clearer.

It certainly seems US purchase would be a pain... and perhaps my assumed costs are missing a Tax cost that is added at checkout... in a similar way to pricings in UK business purchases, and Costco (excl) prices here in the UK.

it certainly seems to add additional risk to buy in different continents... but perhaps Asia market is a possibility in the future.

Anyhow I have 2+ years with my S21 Ultra before that next purchase. The step up from a Galaxy S10 plus to an S21 Ultra should be great.

Thanks guys for your information... some of which i hadn't considered.

kind regards
smiley 😀