Samsung says global sales of its Galaxy Note 7 are to be halted following reports of handsets that were issued as safe replacements catching fire.
The Korean technology giant said owners of either an original Note 7 or a replacement should turn them off and stop using them as it investigates the reports with regulators.
Affected consumers have been advised to seek a refund or exchange their devices.
Samsung said it is “working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note 7.
“Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 while the investigation is taking place,” the firm added in a statement.
Officials in the US said they were investigating at least five incidents of fire or overheating reported since Samsung first recalled the devices in September.
Meanwhile, authorities in South Korea said they had found a new product defect in the Note 7, but did not identify the issue.
Samsung said it remained “committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation”.
“Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available.”
The UK release date for the Note 7 had been moved to October 28, after Samsung ordered the recall of its latest handset following dozens of reports of devices overheating worldwide.
The South Korean manufacturer then began a programme offering replacement phones to consumers who had pre-ordered the device in the UK.
Samsung said in September that it was “confident” it had completely overcome the problem and was ready to launch the device.
However, concerns were raised over further defects beyond the battery cell, following several reports in the US of phones catching fire that showed the green battery icon Samsung added to replacement phones to mark them as safe.
The company said 45,000 Note 7s had been sold in Europe through the pre-order campaign – the majority in the UK – and more than 75% had since been replaced with either a Note 7 or another Samsung handset.
Analysts say the latest problems pose a crisis for the world’s largest smartphone company. Ben Bajarin, a consumer tech industry analyst with Creative Strategies, described it was a “real black eye on the product”.