Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. Launch: What You Need to Know
After a month of waiting for answers, Samsung, and the U.S. carriers that will be carrying its new Galaxy S4 finally delivered information about the Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. launch including specific dates and pricing. And while many of those questions have finally been answered, unfortunately, there are still a few that remain.
Back on March 14th, Samsung took the stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City to introduce its latest and greatest piece of mobile technology, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the device that will replace the Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship, and the one that will compete against the likes of the HTC One, iPhone 5 and presumably, the Motorola X Phone, iPhone 5S, and more.
Unlike past Samsung events, the company decided to host the event in the United States, marking the first time a Galaxy S smartphone had made its debut on stage within the confines of the U.S. borders. Due to past releases, many speculated that the United States would finally see a launch that was in line with those in other parts of the world.
Traditionally, other nations have seen devices and their specific release dates and pricing long before the United States. Samsung, with the Galaxy S3, launched the device much closer to the U.S. release date. And that led many to hope that the Galaxy S4 release would bring something similar to the United States, especially since the event was taking place in New York.
Unfortunately, while other regions have seen information revealed in the past few weeks, information about the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch in the U.S. had been relatively scarce. We saw AT&T and U.S. Cellular put up a pre-order and we saw T-Mobile deliver a supposed May 1st release date. But until this week, things had been quiet.
Now, we finally have a bead on what to expect from many of the U.S. carriers that will be carrying the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the days ahead and here now is everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S4 U.S. launch including specific release dates, pricing, and even, information that remains missing.
AT&T Galaxy S4
AT&T started taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S4 on April 16th. Unfortunately, while it has confirmed a 32GB Galaxy S4 for arrival, the carrier is only offering the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 up for pre-order.
As it announced, the Galaxy S4 16GB is available for $199.99 on-contract and the 32GB Galaxy S4, when it arrives, likely on release day, will be coming for $250 on-contract. These prices fall in line with other carriers who are offering it on-contract.
Oddly enough, AT&T has yet to issue a specific release date for the Galaxy S4 only to say that the device is currently scheduled to ship out on April 30th. A leaked document from RadioShack, courtesy of Phandroid, seems to point to the device coming out on April 24th, the same day as T-Mobile, but as of yet, that is unofficial.
Those that are looking for a bit of a discount on the AT&T model can head to Walmart which is taking pre-orders for the AT&T model only and charging a mere $168 on-contract. We’ve also heard from Staples who says that it will be charging $199.99 on-contract for the AT&T Galaxy S4.
Sprint Galaxy S4
Unlike the AT&T Galaxy S4, the Sprint Galaxy S4 has an official release date as Sprint has announced that it will be arriving on April 27th with pre-orders for the device beginning tomorrow. However, unlike AT&T’s model, the Sprint Galaxy S4 is going to be a bit more expensive.
The carrier has unveiled a $250 price tag for the 16GB Galaxy S4, far more expensive than the on-contract price from AT&T. It also is only taking orders for the 16GB Galaxy S4 and has not revealed whether it will be offering the 32GB Galaxy S4.
There is a way to get the device for cheaper though. Sprint is offering new customers coming from other carriers a $100 discount on the Galaxy S4 which means that the price will fall all the way down to $150.
Sprint, however, will be the only carrier offering pure unlimited data with its Galaxy S4. Other carriers either throttle or offer tiered data plans on which there are data limits.
Staples has informed Gotta Be Mobile that it will be charging $199.99 for the Sprint Galaxy S4 when it arrives, a price that is cheaper than Sprint’s asking price.
T-Mobile Galaxy S4
T-Mobile is another U.S. carrier that has offered up official pricing and release date information for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The Magenta carrier will be the first U.S. carrier to offer the Galaxy S4 as the device will officially arrive, online, on April 24th. The device will not be available in stores until May 1st.
T-Mobilewill be the only carrier to offer it with both a 4G LTE network and a HSPA+ 42 network behind it. It will also be the only major carrier that offers it strictly off-contract.
In March, T-Mobile unveiled its new UnCarrier plans which require buyers to buy phones off-contract. The Galaxy S4, for instance, will cost $149 on a T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan.
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plans start at $50 a month and users will have to pay additional fees per month to pay off the price of the phone (unless they pay full retail at first). T-Mobile has not said how much it will charge monthly, but we imagine it will be on par with the $20 it charges for the iPhone 5.
Verizon Galaxy S4
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch is the Verizon Galaxy S4 which was confirmed shortly after the Galaxy S4 launch event but has since been off the radar.
Verizon is completely mum on pricing and a release date and thus far, those interested have had to rely on leaks and information from non-corporate Verizon outlets.
A leak from Staples has suggested that the device may arrive as late as May 30th, far away from the other release dates. No price was mentioned but Staples has told Gotta Be Mobile that it plans to charge $199.99 when the device arrives.
We also recently learned that at least one Verizon premium retailer, not a corporate store, has begun taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S4 though it is charging a little over $300 after tax for the 16GB model. It claims that the device will be coming out at some point in May though it does not know exactly when.
Verizon is typically last to Samsung devices so it wouldn’t be surprising to see it arrive in late April or in the early part of May for the nation’s largest 4G LTE network.
U.S. Cellular Galaxy S4
U.S. Cellular began taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S4 today and like AT&T, it is selling the device in 16GB form, at least at the moment, for $199.99 on-contract.
The regional U.S. carrier has not yet said whether or not it will deliver a 32GB Galaxy S4 and it hasn’t announced a specific release date for the Galaxy S4. The carrier has said that it will arrive before April ends, however. It has, however, decided to throw in a free S View flip cover for those that pre-order the device, an incentive that is not found anywhere else.
Keep in mind, U.S. Cellular is much smaller than these other four carriers in terms of coverage and therefore, LTE, amongst other services, will be limited in plenty of locales.
Other Carriers & Retailers
Those looking for other options should be able to find the Galaxy S4 through three other carriers in the U.S. including C Spire – which says that it will be releasing the device this summer, Cricket Wireless, and Sprint MVNO Ting.
As for those looking to buy through other retailers other than the corporate outlets, Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile, Costco, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart have all confirmed that they will be offering the Galaxy S4 in some shape or form though as we’ve seen, carrier options may be limited at some.