Dallas – A broad rollout of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone starts this month and runs through the summer, putting the device in the hands of seven carriers and seven national retailers at prices ranging from $149 to $249 with two-year contract.
When the rollout is complete, the device will be available on the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless networks as well as on the U.S. Cellular, Cricket and C Spire networks, Samsung said. National retailers that will carry the device are Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile, Costco, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target and Walmart.
So far, Sprint, T-Mobile and Staples have announced specific pricing and availability dates for the Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) device, which features 5-inch 1080p display, 1.9GHz quad-core processor, and a host of new features such as Air Gesture, which lets users answer a call or skip to the next song by waving your hand in front of the screen. Air View lets users preview emails, photos in the gallery, or even stories in Flipboard by hovering a finger over the screen. Smart Pause automatically pauses a video when the viewer looks away from the screen.
Here’s what has been announced as of this post:
C Spire Wireless: The regional Mississippi carrier plans summertime availability of the LTE model. Pricing and an exact availability date will be announced in the coming weeks.
Sprint: The carrier starts taking preorders on Thursday, April 18, and plans April 27 availability of the 16GB 4G Android phone at $249, with a special price of $149 for subscribers new to the Sprint network.
It will be available in white and black.
T-Mobile: Through its web site, the carrier plans April 24 availability at $629 with its no-contract plans, or a $149 down payment plus 24 monthly payments of $20, followed by May 1 availability at those prices through its stores. Select dealers and national retailers will offer the device starting May 1. The company didn’t disclose which of two colors would be available.
U.S. Cellular: The carrier plans availability later this month at $199 with contract and will include a free S View protective flip cover. The $59-suggested cover features a window at the top through which users can view date and time, battery life, and text messages and answer or reject calls with the cover closed. The cover also automatically lights up and unlocks the screen when the cover is flipped open. It will be available in black and white.
Staples: The retail plans to sell versions for each of the four national networks at 500 locations that sell phones, but consumers will also be able to order them from in-store kiosks in stores that do not stock phones, the company said. The price with two-year contract will be $199.
On April 26, the company plans in-store sales of the AT&T model, and on May 1, Staples will sell the T-Mobile version in stores and online. The availability date of the Verizon and Sprint models wasn’t disclosed. The Verizon model will be available in stores and online, and the Sprint model will be available online only.
The T-Mobile version will cost $199 with a two-year agreement or $799.99 off-contract, Staples said. The retailer will not offer it with a no-contract monthly payment plan.
Walmart: The retailer has made the device available for pre-order in more than 3,500 stores nationwide at $168 with two-year service contract from AT&T. The fulfillment of pre-orders will be processed on a first-come, first serve basis, which is subject to manufacturer availability and carrier launch dates, Walmart said.
An exact availability date in stores and online wasn’t disclosed.