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Samsung Galaxy S5 sales double S4, driven by 4G

As the Samsung Galaxy S5 sells twice as fast as the S4 on launch day, UK retailers say as many as 99 percent of the new smartphones sold are on 4G contracts.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is selling like warmed baked goods Josh Miller/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is flying off the shelves, selling twice as many as the Galaxy S4 on launch day in the UK, with more than 9 out of 10 phones sold signed up to 4G contracts.

UK mobile phone retailers Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse have revealed that sales of the S5 were more than double that of the S4 on its first day alone. The two big street staples say that pre-orders for the new phone were "significantly" higher than its predecessor.

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And a whopping 95 percent of S5 contract sales at Carphone Warehouse and 99 percent at Phones 4U saw phone fans signing up to 4G contracts.

4G is still at a relatively early stage in Britain, but it seems the S5 has arrived at the point when it's reached wide enough coverage and hit price levels phone fans are willing to embrace.

Both retail chains are partnered with Samsung to run dedicated Samsung Experience shops across Britain and Europe, the first of which opened just in time for the S5 launch.

Samsung will be pleased: although the S4 undeniably did boffo business -- more than ten million shipped in its first month -- sales were a little slower than expected and didn't see the explosive growth of previous models.

Speaking to Reuters, Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung's product strategy team, said the S5 is "selling faster than the S4 so far."

The strategy with the S5 is not to fill it with gimmicks and bloatware. "With the S4, we thought smartphones shouldn't just focus on hardware. They also had to come with a lot of software and services, and that line of thinking did lead us to cram many services into the device," Yoon continues. By contrast, with the S5, "We decided not to put in so many things and only include what the user really needs, so I cut out a lot of services and software."