Sprint 'Overwhelmed By Demand' for Galaxy S III, T-Mobile Half-Stocked

Sprint and T-Mobile planned to offer the Samsung Galaxy S III June 21, weeks before their competitors. Sprint, however, is working to meet preorders and has no phones to sell, while T-Mobile only has 16GB models.

Sprint and T-Mobile were slated to be the first U.S. carriers to the launch this summer€™s €œit€ phone, the Samsung Galaxy S III. Weeks ago, the pair announced June 21 launch dates, while Verizon Wireless, AT&T and U.S. Cellular gave more vague July timeframes. Strong demand for the phone, however, has caused a hold-up for both carriers.

€œDue to overwhelming demand for Galaxy S III worldwide, Samsung has informed us they will not be able to deliver enough inventory of Galaxy S III for Sprint to begin selling the device on June 21,€ Sprint spokesperson Mark Elliot told eWEEK in a June 22 email. €œWe are working closely with Samsung on a delivery schedule to support our launch.€

In a statement clearly prepared with some advance knowledge that Sprint wouldn€™t see a Galaxy S III come June 21, he added:

We have begun shipping preorders for the 16GB version of Samsung Galaxy S III and anticipate they will be delivered by June 21. We hope to begin shipping preorders for the 32GB version next week as we receive inventory. Customers can check the status of their preorder at www.sprint.com/myorder.

Customers have been able to preorder the smartphone since June 5. Sprint is offering Marble White and Pebble Blue versions of the Galaxy S III at $199.99 for a 16GB model and $249.99 for a 32GB€”both with a two-year contract.

While the Galaxy S III is front and center on T-Mobile€™s home page, a closer look reveals that 16GB Pebble Blue and Marble White options are available for $279.99 with two-year contracts, though 32GB options€”priced at $329.99 with a two-year contract€”in both colors are listed as €œout of stock.€

AT&T has opted out of the 32GB version altogether, saying it will sell the 16GB model for $199.99 with a two-year contract and offer a 16GB MicroSD card for $39, offering Galaxy S III users 32 total gigabytes for $238.99. A June 4 release said it will also exclusively offer a version in red.

U.S. Cellular has priced Marble White and Pebble Blue 16GB models at $199.99, and a 32GB model in Marble White at $249.99€”though all these prices are with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. It has said it will begin selling the phones €œin July.€

Verizon Wireless will sell 16GB and 32GB models for $199.99 and $249.99, respectively, and ship them€”it says on its Website€”by July 11.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy S III May 3, and by mid-May a Samsung executive told the Korea Economic Daily that it had already received more than 9 million preorders for the phone. The executive added that Samsung€™s South Korea-based smartphone factory, which is capable of producing 5 million phones per month, was running at full capacity.

The Galaxy S III features a 4.8-inch display, six sensors and a quad-core processor, and weighs 140 grams and measures 9.3mm thin. It can be voice-controlled in a number of ways, and has near-field communication (NFC) inside, enabling it to take advantage of several content-sharing capabilities and be used with Samsung€™s NFC-equipped TecTile stickers. Its sensors enable it to do things like see when a reader is looking at it, and so not let the screen dim, and recognize the people in photos and email them copies. Samsung has also included the GS III in its lineup of SAFE (Samsung Approved for Enterprise) devices, saying it€™s secure enough for business users even in regulated industries.

As eWEEK discovered while trying out the phone, it is big, slippery, shortcut-crazy and unlike anything else. Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.