BARCELONA—The Samsung Galaxy S9 will be coming to all the major US carriers, and T-Mobile will be offering the least expensive units of the three carriers we’ve heard from so far.
We got the prices for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones slightly in advance of the launch AT Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (We expect to be hearing about Sprint very soon now.) The Galaxy S9 will cost $720 at T-Mobile, $790.20 at AT&T, and $799.99 at Verizon. The Galaxy S9+ will cost $840 at T-Mobile, $915 at AT&T, and $929.99 at Verizon. Sprint did not send us pricing details. They’ll also go for $719.99 and $839.99 unlocked.
The phones will all be available on 24-month or 30-month payment plans, but we like to give you the full price you’ll end up paying at the end.
The S9+’s price is coming up pretty close to the Galaxy Note 8, which costs $949.99 at AT&T. But these two phones are now differentiating themselves in weird, not always visible ways: the Note 8 has an even bigger screen and a stylus, but has a slower processor and modem, and none of the S9+’s new camera capabilities.
All the carriers will be offering promotions. Verizon has seven, of which the most important is a trade-in deal offering up to $350 off the purchase of a GS9. Definitely check to see if you can get more value selling your phone on Glyde, Swappa, or elsewhere but here are Verizon’s trade-in values:
- $350 credit – Apple: iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus; Samsung: GS8, GS8+, Note8
- $300 credit – Apple: iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus; Google: Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL; LG: G6, V30; Motorola: Z2 Force, Z Force; Samsung: GS7, GS7 Edge, GS7 Active
- $200 credit – Apple: iPhone 6, 6 Plus; HTC: 10; LG: G5, V20; Motorola: Z Droid, Z2 Play; Samsung: GS6, GS6 edge, GS6 edge+, GS6 Active, Note 5
- $100 credit – Apple: iPhone SE; HTC: M9, M9+; LG: G4, V10; Motorola: Z Play, Turbo 2; Samsung: GS5, Note 4, Note Edge
T-Mobile is offering up to $360 in trade-in value on phones listed here. We expect that AT&T and Sprint will also have trade-in deals, but we don’t have the details on those yet.
Getting to Gigabit
Both AT&T and T-Mobile called out the S9’s new networking abilities and frequency band support.
For T-Mobile, this is the third phone (after the LG V30 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Active) to support the carrier’s new Band 71, 600Mhz rural network. That network is available in 138 cities and towns right now, McDermott said, and it will expand dramatically at the end of 2018 as old TV stations move out of the frequency.
The GS9 will also get speeds around 20 percent faster than the GS8 on T-Mobile’s network because of its support for 12 simultaneous data streams rather than 10, McDermott said. That trick requires the operator to have 20MHz-wide channels on a band where the phone has 4×4 MIMO antennas, and the GS9 fits the bill. This benefit will also apply to Verizon.
On Sprint, the Galaxy S9 will have 4×4 MIMO on bands 25 and 41, enabling it to hit potential gigabit speeds. This is a major step forward from the GS8, which wasn’t a gigabit phone on Sprint because it lacked 4×4 on band 41. So we may see a significant speed improvement between the GS8 and GS9 on Sprint, in places where the carrier has 4×4 MIMO set up.
For AT&T, this will be the first Samsung phone with its FirstNet Band 14 built in. FirstNet is a special LTE network designed only for first responders and public safety officials, to keep their channels of communication clear while other networks are crowded with panicked civilians. While AT&T offers officials priority access to its other bands, Band 14 (which AT&T has only just started to build out) will be reserved just for government.