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Galaxy S4 priced at $249.99 with contract at AT&T

AT&T said customers can pre-order Samsung's flagship phone on April 16. A launch date hasn't yet been given.

Now playing: Watch this: Introducing Samsung's Galaxy S4

AT&T said today it would begin taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S4, which it is pricing at $249.99 with a two-year contract.

Eager customers can place their order starting April 16. AT&T hasn't yet announced when the smartphone would actually hit stores, and a representative declined to provide a specific date.

The $249.99 price tag is slightly higher than the standard flagship phone, which typically retails at $199.99. But Samsung and its carrier partners are hoping that the Galaxy brand, the improved specifications, and the strong buzz behind the product will drive sales. AT&T confirmed that the $249.99 price is for the 16GB base model.

The Galaxy S4 is expected to be the big seller early in the year ahead of the launch of the next iPhone. Still, the phone faces improved competition from the likes of the HTC One, as well as a big marketing campaign from BlackBerry and its Z10 and Q10 phones.

While AT&T is mum about the launch date, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert told CNET that its Galaxy S4 will launch on or before May 1.