In just a few days, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will arrive in the United States, replacing the older and aging Samsung Galaxy S3. Unfortunately for consumers, the entire Galaxy S4 U.S. release picture is still not clear with several carriers still withholding the pertinent details. Here is what we know so far about the Galaxy S4 launch in the U.S.
In March, Samsung debuted the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that will replace the Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship smartphone on a host of global operators. Many of those operators are in the United States where the Galaxy S series remains an extremely popular device and one that potentially has the momentum to take a severe bit into Apple sales, even with the iPhone 5S seemingly on the way.
Last month, a number of carriers confirmed the device for arrival, a list that includes all of the big names. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and more are all set to carry the Galaxy S4 at some point in the future. Sadly, like most major Android launches in the United States, the Galaxy S4′s road to release has been a bumpy one, at least in the United States.
Over the past few weeks, carriers have started releasing information about their Galaxy S4 launches including pricing, release date and more. Yet, even as U.S. release dwindles on the horizon, there are some important questions that remain unanswered. In fact, in the time since our last look at the release date in the U.S., there have been some significant developments.
Here now, we take a close, in-depth look at what we now know and what we still don’t know about the Samsung Galaxy S4′s release in the United States.
AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4
Update: Just a short time ago, AT&T confirmed that its Galaxy S4 will ship out soon with arrivals as soon as April 25th. Its in-store release date will come April 27th, same as Sprint’s. The saga of the AT&T Galaxy S4 release still isn’t over though as the carrier still hasn’t confirmed information for the 32GB model.
The AT&T Galaxy S4 release has shifted from one of the more informed Galaxy S4 releases in the United States to one of the more confusing smartphone launches in recent memory.
Last month, AT&T announced that the AT&T Galaxy S4 would arrive on its network. Shortly after that, the carrier pegged the device with a $250 on-contract price tag though it neglected to say if that price would be for the 32GB model or the 16GB model. The carrier cleared that misunderstanding up by saying that the16GB model would be $199.99 and the 32GB model would be $250. It also said that it would take pre-orders starting April 16th.
Since April 16th though, the AT&T Galaxy S4 has proceeded to spiral out of control, even worse than confirming one price and then seemingly backtracking on it only days later.
Despite taking pre-orders for several days, the company has yet to reveal a specific release date. We’ve seen April 24th rumored, we’ve seen AT&T reps says May 3rd in-stores, and a source informed Gotta Be Mobile that AT&T had been targeting April 26th but is still undecided on a specific date for the device’s release.
To make matters worse, pre-orders, which were originally supposed to ship out on April 30th, were moved to April 23rd, only to get moved back without any explanation. And if that wasn’t enough, the 32GB Galaxy S4, which AT&T confirmed, is still missing, again, without any plausible explanation. We’ve reached out numerous times to AT&T and it refuses to comment.
As it stands, the AT&T Galaxy S4 is up for pre-order, is apparently shipping out on April 30th, and may arrive on April 24th, April 26th or May 3rd. It’s still not clear.
Sprint Galaxy S4
The Sprint Galaxy S4 has been one of the bright spots of the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch in the U.S though it is far from being golden.
Sprint also offered a pre-order for the Galaxy S4, and with it, it also offered up a release date that it seems committed to. Sprint will be releasing the Galaxy S4 on April 27th, a date that it has confirmed several times. And while it was offering up a pre-order, the carrier closed the pre-order ahead of its official release date.
While Sprint has been forthcoming with information, there are still questions that have gone unanswered. First, whether it will drop the price down to $199.99 for all customers. Currently, the 16GB model is $250 on-contract with those bringing a new number getting a $100 discount. It’s unclear how long that offer will last, or if it’s permanent.
It’s also unclear if Sprint will be carrying the 32GB model though based on the 16GB model’s price, that doesn’t seem likely.
As it stands, the Sprint Galaxy S4 is no longer available for pre-order and will become available on April 27th, possibly in 16GB form only, possibly for $199.99 or perhaps, for $250. Or both. It’s not clear.
T-Mobile Galaxy S4
In March, T-Mobile announced that it would be putting the Galaxy S4 on shelves on May 1st. Only, at the time, we didn’t know that that would pertain to stores only. In fact, T-Mobile will be releasing the Galaxy S4 first online starting April 24th, a date that puts it at the forefront of the Galaxy S4 releases in the U.S.
If AT&T doesn’t follow suit, it could be that T-Mobile will be the first to deploy the highly anticipated smartphone in the U.S.
T-Mobile’s device also has a set price and potential customers will need to put $149 down for the Galaxy S4 when it arrives. Users will also need a Simple Choice plan.
Its 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 the full retail price is paid off on day one. T-Mobile has not said how much it will charge monthly but it should be around $20 per month.
U.S. Cellular Galaxy S4
Like AT&T, U.S. Cellular has been offering up the Galaxy S4 for pre-order. Unlike AT&T, it has confirmed the device for arrival at some point in April. Yet, as April ticks away, for whatever reason, the Galaxy S4 release date on U.S. Cellular remains unknown.
Currently U.S. Cellular is offering up the 16GB models for $199.99 on-contract. It’s unclear though just when they will be released or if the carrier will eventually offer the 32GB models.
With only a week left in April, we imagine that those answers will come soon and for those that are planning to order the device through the regional carrier, answers to those questions can’t come soon enough.
Verizon Galaxy S4
Maybe the most anticipated Galaxy S4 variant in the bunch is the Samsung Galaxy S4 for Verizon. Verizon boasts the largest 4G LTE network in the land making it an attractive option for those looking to get the fastest data speeds wherever they go. And while Verizon has chosen to stay relatively quiet about a release date, the confusion about the other launches is making it look like a genius.
Until last week, Verizon hadn’t uttered a peep about the Verizon Galaxy S4, its release date or its pricing. It still hasn’t offered any fine details but it has finally said that it will be releasing the Galaxy S4 in May, launching a sign up page to go along with that announcement.
Still, there is no pre-order, no specific release date and no word on whether or not it will carry the 16GB and 32GB models or the 16GB model only.
Rumors have suggested that Verizon may be releasing the Galaxy S4 on May 30th, much later than other carriers, but thus far, that has not been confirmed by Verizon or by any subsequent leaks.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 isn’t just coming to the major carriers. In addition, it will be coming to an assortment of smaller carriers. Cricket Wireless, C Spire Wireless, and Sprint MVNO Ting.
Sadly, none of these carriers have confirmed anything for potential customers leaving them in the dark about pricing or release dates. We suspect that they will have to wait until at least some of the larger carriers get their fill before disclosing information.