AT&T is preparing to make available the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, but not to everyone.
The carrier today announced that business customers will be able to get their hands on the latest Samsung smartphone starting from June 17. Joining business customers, "5G developers" signed up to the AT&T Developer Program will also be able to buy the new 5G phone.
In terms of the price, AT&T is asking both sets of buyers for $999.99.
The company also confirmed developers attending its AT&T SHAPE conference will get their hands on the phone, along with free AT&T service for the phone, for the remainder of the year.
This is an interesting development by AT&T considering it has yet to make the Galaxy S10 5G available to general consumers. AT&T has previously not confirmed when consumers would be able to buy the phone and today's announcement continued that trend.
One of the reasons why AT&T might be hesitant on making the device widely available is the lack of a widely available 5G network. Although AT&T has announced its 5G rollout — not to be confused with its 5GE rollout — the 5G network is still fairly limited on a nationwide scale.
Today's announcement even picks up on this point by stating business customers and developers who purchase the Galaxy S10 5G will only be able to make use of AT&T's 5G network "in very limited parts of 19 cities."
Another motive possible behind the business-first approach might be the company's ambitions to sign up more customers to its Business Unlimited Preferred plan with the promise of 5G.
As part of the courting process, the announcement points to how "businesses are leading the charge" and how business customers are "early adopters and innovators."
Although Verizon had an exclusivity period on the Galaxy S10 5G U.S. availability, AT&T does seem to be taking its time in making the phone available to its customers.
This is especially true as with each day that passes, the Galaxy Note 10 takes a step closer to launch. Like the Galaxy S10 5G, the Galaxy Note 10 is also expected to be 5G-ready and it remains to be seen what sort of traction the S10 5G will get once the new Galaxy Note phone arrives on the scene.
Arguably, it could be the case that AT&T simply sees the Galaxy S10 5G as already being too late in this sense and may prefer to hold out releasing a primetime 5G phone until the Galaxy Note 10 launches. This will also be beneficial in the sense that its 5G network will be that little more padded out by the time the Galaxy Note 5G is launched.
Irrespective of AT&T's thinking, consumers who are interested in picking up the Galaxy S10 5G do currently have the option to do so through Samsung or Verizon.
Verizon has been selling the Galaxy S10 5G for a few weeks now however it is priced much higher than what AT&T is charging business customers and developers – Verizon lists the phone for $1,299.99 or $54.16 per month for twenty-four months.
Like AT&T, Verizon has the same network limitations due to its 5G rollout also currently being in the early stages of rolling out.