After some initial confusion, we’ve finally gotten to the bottom of the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE situation as the carrier has confirmed to Gotta Be Mobile that it has started replacing its regular Samsung Galaxy S3 stock with the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, a device that will run on its new high-speed network.
At CES 2013, T-Mobile announced that it would be debuting both an LTE Samsung Galaxy S3 and a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 later in the year. While the Galaxy S3 would be replaced with new hardware, the Galaxy Note 2 would simply receive an update enabling the 4G LTE that laid dormant. The carrier issued that update for the Galaxy Note 2 and until recently, the Galaxy S3 LTE was no where to be found.
Earlier this week, we caught the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE on T-Mobile’s website, shortly after a rumor emerged indicating that the carrier was planning to release the smartphone on June 5th. The next day, the device vanished though a leaked piece of information seemed to point to the phone being available.
Today, a T-Mobile spokesperson has cleared up the situation, telling Gotta Be Mobile that starting “the week of May 20th, T-Mobile will begin to replenish its existing Galaxy S III inventory with an updated version of the smartphone that will be able to access T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE network in the currently available markets.”
This of course is the week of May 20th, meaning, the device is currently available at T-Mobile. Further, the carrier told us that “customers may purchase the updated Galaxy S III online at T-Mobile and at select T-Mobile retail stores for $69.99 down with 24 equal monthly payments of $20.” Whether that means that the Galaxy S3 listed online right now is a LTE model or not is unclear. There is no mention of LTE and its specs list it as having HSPA+ 42 capabilities.
It does appear that the device is available in at least some stores which means that those interested in the device should call ahead to see if it’s available. From the looks of things, it appears that the full retail price is going to check in at $570, an expensive price for a device as old as the Samsung Galaxy S3. Whether or not that deters buyers is unclear but with the Galaxy S4 just a little bit more expensive, the Galaxy S3 is going to be a hard sell.
While T-Mobile did not specifically mention it, that June 5th date likely refers to the day that the carrier will have completely replaced the older version of the Galaxy S3.