UPDATE 3-Samsung halts Galaxy Note 7 sales over fire concerns, tells users to switch off

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SEOUL Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) halted sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on Tuesday and told owners to stop using them while it investigates reports of fires, fuelling expectations the tech giant will scrap the flagship device.

Top U.S. and Australian carriers on Monday suspended sales or exchanges of the Note 7s, while major airlines reiterated bans on passengers using the phones, after smoke from a replacement device forced the evacuation of a passenger plane in the United States last week.

The world’s top smartphone maker said it had asked all global carriers to stop sales of the Note 7s and the exchange of original devices for replacements, while it worked with regulators to investigate the problem.

“Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device,” the company said in statement.

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