Galaxy S 4 With LTE Advanced Coming This Month
LTE Advanced is said to transmit information at rates nearly double those of traditional 4G.
Samsung will sell the smartphone in South Korea as early as this month and is in talks with carriers about expanding it to other markets, J.K. Shin, Samsung president and CEO, told Reuters during an interview at Samsung headquarters, outside of Seoul.
"We'll be the first with the commercial launch of the advanced 4G version of the smartphone," Shin said.
Samsung introduced the Galaxy S 4, its latest flagship in its Galaxy S line, on March 14.
Samsung is the world's top seller of smartphones and feature phones. At the launch of the Galaxy S 4, analysts forecast that sales would "shatter" those set by the Galaxy S III, even while pointing out that the S 4—despite being packed to the seams with more features than any user would likely want or need or even figure out—feels like an advancement of the Galaxy S III, not a new innovation.
Still, in addition to Apple and its iPhone, Samsung faces the challenge of a smartphone market that's growing increasingly saturated. According to Ericsson's annual mobility report, during the first quarter of 2013, mobile penetration—due to some subscribers having multiple subscriptions—reached 103 percent in North America, 128 percent in Western Europe and 132 percent in Central and Eastern Europe.
While Apple's strategy has been to introduce one phone per year that's the result of all its energies, Samsung's strategy is to offer something for everyone. Since introducing the GS 4 in March, it has introduced at least eight other phones, including the Galaxy S 4 Mini and the Galaxy S 4 Active.
A GS 4 device with LTE Advanced would have just the kind of stand-out, wow factor that Samsung favors.
T-Mobile, while the slowest U.S. carrier in the LTE race, has hopes of being the first to LTE Advanced, because its LTE hardware is the latest technology (as result of having only recently been put in place).
AT&T has said it expects to launch LTE Advanced sometime this year, and Verizon Wireless told Fierce Wireless that its entire LTE rollout will be complete by mid-2013 and that it will deploy 200 LTE small cells this year, as part of its LTE Advanced strategy.
"When LTE Advanced is ready for prime time, Verizon Wireless will lead the deployment charge, as we have done with 4G LTE," said spokesperson Tom Pica.
Samsung's Shin said sales of the Galaxy S 4 remain strong.
"It's selling far stronger than the [Galaxy S III did] ... and the new LTE Advanced phone will be another addition to our high-end segment offerings that ensure healthy profit margins," Shin said, according to Reuters.
He added that he believes LTE Advanced will become the "mainstream 4G technology globally in years to come."