Summer of Sprint: 4G Smartphone Due by Midyear
Sprint has long needed an edge in the wireless market, and a few months from now it will finally get one: A smartphone designed to run on its 4G WiMax network (Clearwire) with data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. Originally expected at market in the second half of the year, the device is evidently now being prepped for launch in the first half.
No word yet on what sort of smartphone we’re talking about here, although the Supersonic, an Android device HTC is rumored to be building, seems like a good candidate. With Sprint’s 4G service currently available in only 27 U.S. markets, whatever device the company debuts will have to be dual mode 4G/3G, and it’s my understanding that the Supersonic fits that bill.
In any event, the acceleration of Sprint’s 4G phone strategy is exciting news for the carrier, which has a lot riding on it. As Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said during the company’s last earnings call, Sprint is looking to “make a lot of hay” with 4G.
“Internally we call 2010 the year of 4G,” Hesse said. “Its going to be the year that we’re the only game in town and it’s a combination of we need to get more markets turned up and we need to get a better device lineup and then we think we can really start to show some sizable progress in that regard.”
With rival Verizon (VZ) planning to go live with its own LTE-based 4G network later this year, he had better hope so.