Samsung runs out of Galaxy S4s before it’s even launched

Samsung has claimed that it is likely to run out of its new Galaxy S4s and is facing overwhelming global demand.

It has warned that the initial supply may be limited and it will be several weeks before it can fulfill inventory to meet demands.

In the US, telcos are reporting delays because of “an unexpected delay with inventory deliveries.” Sprint will take online orders starting Saturday as planned, but the phone will be sold at retail outlets only as it becomes available. Sprint blamed “unexpected inventory challenges from Samsung” from having a full product launch. AT&T thought it had enough to do a launch as it planned.

Lee Don-joo, head of sales and marketing at Samsung’s mobile business toldReuters that demand is far stronger than he had expected. The tech press is used to hearing this from outfits when a phone is launched, but this case it seems a little too embarrassing for Samsung. It had the same problems last year.

Samsung took out an eight-page, full-colour insert in the Wall Street Journal heralding the arrival of the device and promised that by early summer, it will have set up Samsung “Experience” stores in about 1,400 Best Buy locations, designed to showcase its line-up of mobile and other electronic devices.

Some analysts predict the new Galaxy could top 10 million unit sales in the first month after its launch. The problem is that if Samsung rushes the phone into the shops it could create a manufacturing error which could mean a loss of sales.  Last year the company suffered from a manufacturing error on handset cases which cost Samsung over 2 million units in lost SIII sales