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Apr 24 2012   7:05AM GMT

Sprint Has 4G LTE Smartphones But No LTE Network

Ed Hardy Ed Hardy Profile: Ed Hardy

Sprint released its first 4G LTE smartphones on Sunday, even though it doesn’t have an LTE network… yet.

Samsung Galaxy NexusThis company finds itself in a tough spot. Two years ago it became the first carrier in the U.S. with a 4G network, but it picked the WiMAX standard for this. Unfortunately for Sprint, just about every other carrier in the world chose the LTE standard for 4G, and some phone makers (including Apple) are unwilling to make WiMAX-based devices.

As many times as we’ve all heard “The early bird gets the worm”, being first doesn’t always mean coming out ahead. It’s the second mouse to reach the trap that gets the cheese, after all.

As a result, Sprint is going to have to spend several billion dollars adding support for LTE to its network. This will start to be available in a handful of cities in the next month or so. But as mentioned before, this company isn’t waiting to introduce LTE-enabled handsets. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper 4G LTE are the first, and more are expected to follow, such as the HTC EVO 4G LTE.

At launch, these don’t have 4G — they will be 3G only until this carrier gets its LTE network up and running.

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