At long last, after months of rumors and speculation, the least popular mobile provider in America has officially entered the Galaxy S4 arena, with AT&T finally confirming plans for the Samsung Galaxy S4 release date online on Thursday.

In a new post on the AT&T Consumer Blog, the U.S. mobile carrier confirmed that it would once again be the first network to launch Samsung's next Galaxy device, though an actual Galaxy S4 release date was not included in the announcement. The company also launched its official Galaxy S4 web portal, where AT&T is currently directing customers who have additional questions and/or interest in pre-ordering the phone prior to the Galaxy S4 release date.

Those interested in purchasing a Galaxy S4 from AT&T will be able to do so beginning April 16, and the mobile carrier has confirmed that the Galaxy S4 release date will bring a device price of $249.99 with two-year service agreement. An actual shipping date will apparently be announced by AT&T sometime in the next few weeks.

Surprisingly, neither AT&T nor Verizon were first to the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch party, with fellow U.S. mobile provider T-Mobile beating its biggest competitors to the punch with a Galaxy S4 release date announcement during Tuesday's UNcarrier event in New York City. In fact, Verizon and Sprint still have not even confirmed plans to bring the Samsung Galaxy S4 to their respective networks; however, both are expected to announce Galaxy S4 release dates soon.

Samsung will also be out promoting their latest flagship Android device ahead of the phone's launch, with new reports suggesting that the company plans to setup miniature Samsung Stores inside of select Best Buy locations ahead of the Galaxy S4 release date. The pop-up shops will be heavy on Samsung branding, but says Samsung will be focused on more than just the upcoming Galaxy S4 release date and product line.

There's no word on what other devices might show up in the Samsung Shops at this time, though the inclusion of the recently confirmed Samsung Galaxy S4 mini seems like a safe bet. There's still not an official spec sheet or Galaxy S4 mini release date, but the smaller Galaxy S4 is expected to ship during roughly the same time period as the full-size Galaxy S4.

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