At an event in New York City Tuesday, T-Mobile finally broke the news that it would start offering the Apple iPhone 5 from Apr. 12 with compatibility on its new 4G LTE network. But the latest Apple flagship smartphone is not the only high-end LTE-enabled device to come to T-Mobile USA, the carrier also announced that it would launch the new Samsung Galaxy S4, May 1 as well.
With the official announcement of the Galaxy S4 availability, T-Mobile has become the first major U.S. mobile operator to do so, while other players like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are expected to follow suit soon.
Although T-Mobile, the fourth largest U.S. mobile carrier, claims to be more open than others, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be locked, “at least until it's paid off,” The Verge reported.
Apart from the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4, other handsets that T-Mobile said it would offer with LTE support include the BlackBerry Z10, HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Here’re the price and availability details:
Apple iPhone 5 – T-Mobile will start offering iPhone 5 from Apr. 12 for a down payment of $99, with monthly payments of $20 for two years. Interested customers can pre-register for the T-Mobile variant of the iPhone 5 here.
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Samsung Galaxy S4 – T-Mobile didn’t specify the exact price point of the Galaxy S4, but it’s expected that the pricing would be similar to that of the iPhone 5, i.e. a down payment of around $100, with a $20 charge per month for the next 2 years of ownership. Interested customers can pre-register for the T-Mobile variant of the Galaxy S4 here.
BlackBerry Z10 – The handset is currently available through all T-Mobile channels on a down payment of $99, with monthly payments of $18 for two years.
HTC One – T-Mobile will start offering HTC One later this spring. Pricing is expected to be similar to that of BlackBerry Z10.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – Current users of the T-Mobile variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can now take advantage of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network via an over-the-air (OTA) software update.
On Tuesday, T-Mobile launched its 4G LTE network in seven major metropolitan areas that include Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, Calif. and Washington D.C. According to the company, its 4G LTE network is expected to reach 100 million Americans by mid-year and 200 million by the end of 2013.
Galaxy S3 Customers, No 4G For You!
While the users of the T-Mobile variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will get the carrier’s new 4G LTE support via an OTA update, the existing owners of the Galaxy S3 won’t be able to use their device on T-Mobile’s LTE network.
According to Randy Meyerson, senior director of product marketing at T-Mobile, the Samsung Galaxy S3 does not have a compatible LTE radio. The company officials also did not say whether an LTE-enabled Galaxy S3 version would become available in future.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon MSM8960 chipset that incorporates an integrated LTE radio. While the handset worked on LTE networks from AT&T and Verizon following its launch last year, T-Mobile was only working on deploying its own 4G LTE networks. Given that, there was lot confusion whether the handset would support T-Mobile’s future LTE network.
A Computerworld report cited Anandtech’s founder Anand Shimpi saying that all of the Galaxy S3 versions sport Qualcomm's MSM8960 chipset, but it was Samsung and T-Mobile who might have disabled the LTE capability on the smartphones designed for T-Mobile networks.