Cellular Carriers and Release Timing
Samsung launched the Galaxy S II at the very end of April 2011 in its home country of South Korea. It took until September for the phone to launch in the United States and until November for the Galaxy S II to be available on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. And it still sold more than 20 million units worldwide. The Galaxy S III can do even better, if Samsung is quicker to release the phone in the world's largest cellular markets and with all the major carriers.
Samsung could have announced the Galaxy S III at the Mobile World Congress event in February 2012, but held off to give the device its own event shortly after. Why did they do that? Well, it never hurts to grab the spotlight. But there's a second benefit to a delayed announcement: closing the gap between phone announcement and phone release. Product hype remains strong, and Samsung is expected to release the phone in multiple international markets simultaneously. The Galaxy S III may be released in as many as 50 markets soon after its announcement [source: BGR].
The Galaxy phones have commonly gone by other names when released on some mobile carriers. For example, the original Galaxy S went under the names Captivate and Epic 4G in the United States. The variant models often include tweaked hardware specific to certain carriers, and the Galaxy S III will follow suit. For example, some networks now support 4G LTE data, and the Galaxy S III is expected to include 4G support for those networks. But some carriers, like T-Mobile in the U.S., do not support 4G. Samsung will have to make non-4G models for those carriers.
Pricing will vary by region. While most Android smartphones launch at about $199 with two-year contracts in the United States, some premium phones sell for $299 in their first several months on the market. The Galaxy S III will carry the specs to sell at that price, but both of its predecessors launched at $200. That sets a precedent for the Galaxy S III to do the same.