Reports from South Korea suggest Samsung will look to heat up its smartphone battle with Apple by releasing the Galaxy S4 next February, just nine months after the release of the Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S3 launch
J.K. Shin, head of Samsung Electronics' mobile division, poses with the Galaxy S3 at an event in Seoul earlier this year. Reuters

While the details of Samsung's plans have not been revealed officially, company executive and parts suppliers in South Korea have told The Korea Times that the Galaxy S4 will be launched at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013, which is traditionally held in late February.

Next year MWC is set to be held between 25-28 February.

"Samsung is ready to unveil the next Galaxy smartphone - the Galaxy S4 - as early [as] next year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in the Spanish city of Barcelona," an official from Samsung told The Korea Times on Sunday, asking not to be identified.

The source went on to say that the Galaxy S4 is expected to go on sale globally in March at the latest.

This 'leak' comes just days before Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, goes on sale in a number of countries around the world, including the US and the UK. Samsung's Galaxy S3 has been a major success for the company, selling 20 million units to date, since going on sale in May.

Samsung and Apple, despite doing a billions of dollars of business with each other, are embroiled in high-profile legal battles around the globe, to do with design and utility patents. Apple recently won a major victory over Samsung in a California court, with Samsung ordered to pay over $1bn in damages.

Executives from Samsung's local parts suppliers said the company's new flagship smartphone will "definitely use" LTE technology and be powered by Samsung's own in-house Exynos-branded chips, featuring quad-core processors.

The S3 is currently using both Samsung's Exynos and Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors, depending on the country it is on sale in. According to one official, Samsung is raising the pressure in its relationship with Apple by looking for more money when selling its chips:

"Samsung is asking Apple to pay more to use its mobile application processors produced at its plant in Austin, Texas. The release of the S4 means more market share for Samsung as it is the only firm that can guarantee on-time delivery, output commitment and better pricing for mobile application processors,'' one executive told the Korea Times.

The screen size of the S4 is expected to reach 5in, up from the current 4.8in screen size of the S3, while it will continue to use Google's Android software and sport an OLED display, said the officials.

Samsung has yet to decide whether it will use flexible display technology for the Galaxy S4, due to production problems encountered by Samsung Display.

Following the launch of the iPhone 5 last week, Samsung has been on a major advertising push for the Galaxy S3, even taking out Twitter ads for the term iPhone 5. Samsung also published ads (below) over the weekend comparing the features of the new iPhone and the Galaxy S3 - however Apple fans were quick to respond with their own versions of the ad.

While the patent issues with Apple aren't helpful, Samsung continues to dominate in the smartphone market, rising from 17 percent market share in 2011, to currently holding 33 percent - according to the latest figures from research firm IDC.

However, in the US, Samsung trails Apple which holds 31 percent compared to Samsung's 24 percent - according to figures from NPD.