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Samsung's new Galaxy has carriers jockeying for subscribers

It's finally here, Samsung's splashy new smartphone hit shelves Friday in 125 countries. It's got the world's fastest auto focus, dedicated fitness tools, and is dust and water resistant.

While Samsung will benefit from the new version Galaxy, wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and others are also maneuvering for a piece of the pie.

Samsung's Galaxy S5.
Albert Llop | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Samsung's Galaxy S5.

The phones are on every single carrier and the only way to set themselves apart is through special deals. "It doesn't matter what the phones are, as long as you're signing up for their service," said Roger Cheng, executive editor at CNET. It might be buy one, get one free, or a free tablet for example.

In the wake of the Samsung upgrade, where does Apple stand? "Samsung will obviously take the spotlight over the next few weeks with the launch of its GS5. But Apple isn't completely in the shadow. Apple's phones are still prominently displayed in stores. Don't forget, this is usually when Apple starts to go into its lull as we've passed the initial hype of a new iPhone," said Cheng.

There is the question of whether or not there's a third viable competitor in the smartphone market.

Cheng points out that while HTC made a lot of noise with the HTC One and LG has gained market share around the world and the U.S., it's still not enough to go head to head with the bigger guys.

"There are definitely some other players making or hoping to make that leap into the top-tier players, but right now it's still Apple and Samsung," said Cheng.

—By CNBC's Christina Medici Scolaro