Samsung has launched its new flagship device to much anticipation from critics and consumers alike, and while it hasn’t quite reached the level of hysteria that usually accompanies an iPhone release, it’s expected that carriers stocking the phone will be running some aggressive campaigns to entice interested customers.
Although it’s been confirmed that seven carriers will be selling the S4, not all of the pricing and release dates have been announced. Out of the big four US carriers, all but Verizon have confirmed their plans and price details, and we’ve compared what we know so far below.
Sprint: $249.99 with a two-year contract. Pre-orders begin April 18, with the phone available from April 27.
T-Mobile: $149.99 down payment, with $20 monthly repayments over 24 months. Available to buy online from April 24.
AT&T: $199.99 with a two-year contract, or $639.99 outright. Pre-orders begin April 17, with the phone available from April 30.
Our comparison screenshot shows the total costs, including phone repayments and monthly plan prices, over a two-year contract (or a month-to-month plan with two years of phone repayments, as with T-Mobile):
Currently, AT&T is offering the cheapest plan overall over two years, although it only offers 300MB of data. In comparison, T-Mobile’s cheapest plan includes 500MB of data and unlimited talk and text, for a price difference of an extra $154 over two years of payments.
As we’ve previously looked at, Sprint is currently running a promotion offering new customers who switch to Sprint from another carrier and port their number across $100 credit towards their new phone. Although we reported on the deal in relation to the iPhone 5, the offer will also be applicable to new customers signing up for the Galaxy S4.
For users looking for unlimited and unthrottled data, Sprint’s Everything Data 450 (including the $100 discount) comes out ahead of its nearest rival, T-Mobile’s Unlimited Talk, Text and 4G Data plan, by more than $200. However, neither plan offers unlimited mobile hotspot access – you’ll need to purchase a separate tethering-only data pack.
If talking and messaging are more important to you than downloading, T-Mobile’s Unlimited Talk & Text plans are the cheapest, with its 500MB plan working out to be almost $450 cheaper than AT&T’s Mobile Share 1GB plan with unlimited minutes and texting.
However, if you’re looking to compare both unlimited data and unlimited minutes between Sprint and T-Mobile, the Simply Everything Plan from Sprint will cost over $500 more than T-Mobile’s unlimited talk, text and 4G data plan over the course of 24 months. AT&T currently doesn’t offer unlimited data plans, so those of you wanting to take advantage of the S4′s 4G capability with no data restrictions will need to look at Sprint or T-Mobile.
There’s still no word on what Verizon Wireless and the three smaller carriers (Cricket Wireless, US Cellular and C-Spire) will be offering customers wanting the S4. Verizon recently announced it will be introducing a Device Payment Plan, allowing customers to purchase phones and tablets worth more than $350 by paying in monthly installments over 12 months, without being locked in to a 24-month service contract (a similar move to T-Mobile’s relaunched ‘uncarrier’ plans). The new Payment Plan will be available from April 21 for selected devices, but Verizon has not revealed whether the Galaxy S4 will be one of the eligible handsets.
We’re looking forward to seeing if Verizon can pull something really competitive out of the hat. The Galaxy S4 is no doubt going to be one of the hottest phone releases this year, so fingers crossed that carriers will be offering more deals over the coming weeks for discerning customers.
To compare what’s on offer for the S4 so far, head here to browse through available plans.