Sprint, T-Mobile face delays in getting Samsung Galaxy S III to market

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA cited extremely high demand as the reason for changes to their launch strategies for Samsung's latest flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S III.

Samsung Galaxy S III Sprint

Samsung's Galaxy S III for Sprint

In a statement issued Tuesday, Sprint said that "due to overwhelming demand and limited supply for Sprint's Samsung Galaxy S III, we are running a little behind on deliveries." The 16 GB version, which runs $200 with a two-year contract, will be available first online and over the phone beginning June 21, and will expand to all remaining sales channels next week.

Sprint said it is "optimistic" that it will ship all Samsung Galaxy S III-16 GB pre-orders this week, and that they will be delivered by June 21 as anticipated. "There is a chance, however, that we may be a day or two late," Sprint said."We anticipate shipping all Samsung Galaxy S III-3G GB pre-orders next week."

"We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate the patience of our customers as we work through this minor delay in availability," Sprint added. 

Meanwhile, according to a T-Mobile statement obtained by the blog TMoNews, the carrier said it is breaking its launch into two phases. T-Mobile said select retail and branded-store locations in its top 29 markets will sell the Galaxy S III as scheduled on June 21, and that a limited amount of Samsung Galaxy S III devices will be available on T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile said it anticipates the remaining retail and branded-store locations will launch device on June 27.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and U.S. Cellular are also expected to launch the device within the next few weeks. A U.S. Cellular spokesman said the carrier's launch, set for July, will not be affected, and representatives from from AT&T and Verizon did not immediately have a comment on whether their launch plans had changed.

The strong demand for the Galaxy S III should bode well for Samsung's sales. The company is releasing the device at the five U.S. carriers, and is and branding the gadget simply as the Galaxy S III.

The new strategy is counter to the tack that Samsung took with its Galaxy S and Galaxy S II models, released in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Then, Samsung customized the branding and even the hardware for each U.S. carrier. This time, Samsung is pushing its own branding and messaging, though it is still customizing the software for each carrier. The single brand will also allow Samsung to focus its advertising, the company said.

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see this TMoNews post

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