There’s a lot riding on Galaxy S4’s popular success for Samsung, the current unchallenged smartphone heavyweight champ. The Full HD 5-incher is the follow-up to the GS3, which has arguably been the biggest blockbuster in Android history.
You can imagine the pressure Samsung might feel right now to deliver, especially with so much stronger competition for the high-end phone crown than last year. Sony’s Xperia Z, HTC’s One and LG’s Optimus G Pro are all looking for the smallest GS4 weakness, which would allow them to step up to the plate and snatch the gold.
But let’s face it, those three need a miracle and a lot of Sammy mistakes to gain the upper hand. And right now, there’s no sign of any weakness on Samsung’s part.
Quite on the contrary, as it appears the Galaxy S4 launch is much better prepared than GS3’s release. The “next big thing” is ready to take the entire world by storm in the space of just a few weeks, unlike the S3, which was very slowly rolled out around the globe.
And because we know it can be hard to keep track of all the small availability and pricing updates that pop up every day, we’ve taken the liberty to compile a quick guide for our North American readers and friends. Ready? Here’s everything we know about GS4’s availability and pricing in the US and Canada:
US availability and prices
AT&T – Available for pre-orders for a couple of days now, the 16 GB GS4 is to start shipping on April 30. Both the “black mist” and “white frost” versions appear to be in stock and go for $199.99 with two-year contracts. The outright pricing is $639.99.
T-Mobile – While T-Mo is yet to open pre-orders, we’re pretty certain the “uncarrier” will follow AT&T’s suit very closely and kick shipping into gear come May 1. The S4 will not be available with contracts via Magenta and will instead go for $99.99 on prepaid plans, with 24 monthly installments of $20 each.
Update: Our speculations have missed the mark in two departments, with S4’s release date on T-Mo slated for April 24 after all and off-contract pricing set at $149.99, plus extra monthly payments.
Sprint – America’s number three carrier is bizarrely secretive on S4’s release, with nothing but a pre-registration page live on the official website. Still, chances are Sprint will make the 5-incher available sometime in May for a starting on-contract price of $200.
Update: Surprise, surprise, as Sprint will be opening pre-orders on April 18 and ship the first units nine days later. The official price tag is $249.99, for a limited time only, new customers who switch their phone number to Sprint from another carrier will receive an additional $100 instant credit, reducing the price of Galaxy S 4 to $149.99.
Verizon – Big Red doesn’t even have a pre-registration page on its website for now, but, based on recent leaks, that’s understandable. It seems the number one US network will ship the S4 starting May 30, which is a long, long time from now.
Update: Things remain mysterious on Verizon, but previous rumors about the May 30 release date seem to have been a long way off. Big Red is now slated to get the GS4 sometime by the end of April.
US Cellular – Many people might disregard the minor carrier, but USC has a shot of undercutting both Sprint and Verizon in this particular case. US Cellular’s 16 GB S4 is available for pre-orders for roughly 24 hours, going for the unsurprising $200 price with two-year contracts. There’s no ship date mentioned just yet, but something tells us the release will happen over the next couple of weeks.
MetroPCS – Another small carrier that has a shot of playing in the big leagues, Metro is unlikely to get the S4 by the end of May. When it does get it though, the prepaid network will probably sweep you off your feet with its pricing, as our guess is the off-contract S4 will go for less than $600, maybe even $500.
Canada availability and pricing
- Rogers – The Samsung Galaxy S4 is up for pre-orders and listed as shipping on April 27. The on-contract pricing is $199.99 with three-year agreements for both the white and black 16 GB versions.
- Telus – Despite what Samsung Canada said on Twitter earlier this week, the nation’s third largest carrier still claims it will ship the first S4 units on April 26. For now, you can pre-order the 5-incher, for $199, with three-year contracts.
- Bell – There’s no shipping date here yet, but Bell does offer both the on and off-contract versions of the S4 for pre-orders. The former is $199.95, while the latter goes for 500 bucks more.
- Virgin Mobile – Roughly $200 is Galaxy S4’s worth on Virgin as well, with pre-orders live, but no shipping date listed.
- Videotron – The regional Quebecoise network has also opened pre-orders a couple of days ago, with the starting price set at $199.95. The biggest news here is the S4 is available outright for just $649.95.
As you can notice, not everything is set in stone yet, especially in the US, where most of the carriers insist on being mysterious. But it will all going to unravel in the next weeks, and we will be here to update this guide and keep you in the loop. For now, who’s psyched about GS4’s launch?