By PETER SVENSSON, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Samsung's new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, will be launched by all of the Big 4 national U.S. wireless carriers this month, starting at $199, the phone maker said Monday.
The phone will be carried by Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA, as well as regional carrier U.S. Cellular, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. said.
T-Mobile and Sprint said they will start selling the phone on June 21. Sprint said the version with 16 gigabytes of memory will cost $200 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile did not say what it would charge. Samsung said the other phone companies will announce specific launch dates and prices later.
The Galaxy series has emerged as the most popular alternative to Apple Inc.'s iPhone. And in a first for a flagship Samsung phone, the Galaxy S III will have the same name across all U.S. carriers. However, carriers won't be selling exactly the same phone. Each one will be selling a model adapted to its network.
Sprint called the previous model, the Galaxy S II, the "Epic 4G Touch" and Verizon didn't sell it at all. The wide launch and consistent naming of the phone is a sign of Samsung's growing clout and ability to build its brand.
Galaxy phones run Google's Android software. The S III has a 4.8-inch screen, for a display area that's nearly twice large as the iPhone's. Yet the phone is slightly thinner and lighter than Apple's phone.
The S III went on sale Europe and the Middle East last week.
Samsung doesn't say how many smartphones it sells, but most analysts estimate that it outsold the 35.1 million iPhones Apple sold in the first three months of this year. Unlike Apple, it sells many smartphone models, most of them at prices well below the iPhone's.
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