Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy S4 smartphone, the main challenger to Apple Inc.'s iPhone, will go on sale next week at U.S. carriers, including T-Mobile USA Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp.
Seven U.S. carriers and seven retailers will be selling the Galaxy S4, Samsung said in a statement. T-Mobile aims to be first with the device, with an April 24 release date. Sprint will offer the phone on April 27, while AT&T Inc. plans to make it available on April 30. Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. carrier, said today that it hasn't set a date yet.
The Galaxy S4, unveiled last month at a lavish event in New York, represents the biggest threat to the iPhone's lead in the U.S. market. The phone sports a larger screen, faster processor and higher-resolution camera, putting pressure on Apple to match those capabilities. The next version of the iPhone isn't expected until later this year.
The Samsung phone also provides an opportunity for carriers and stores to jockey for customers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, plans to offer the device for $168 with a two-year contract from AT&T. Sprint will sell the Galaxy S4 to new customers for $149.99 with a contract, though existing subscribers will pay $249.99.
T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, is using the Galaxy S4 debut to spotlight its new installment-plan approach to selling smartphones. It will offer the phone for a down payment of $149.99, followed by monthly payments. Its offer -- part of its new Simple Choice strategy -- doesn't require a long-term contract.