Sprint CFO hints at LTE iPhones in the future

Without saying Apple is working on a 4G LTE smartphone, a Sprint executive tiptoes around the idea.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Sprint iPhone.
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Sprint's financial chief today tiptoed around the prospect of a 4G LTE iPhone, the latest indication that the next version will come packed with a superfast wireless connection.

Speaking to investors at a conference earlier today, Sprint's chief financial officer, Joe Euteneuer, did not say such a device was coming, but he did say the company has an agreement with Apple similar to that of AT&T and Verizon Wireless, hinting that technology designed for those networks would come to Sprint's as well.

"If you make the assumption that they launch a device at a similar time that they did last year, you're basically done with the major markets," Euteneuer said, as relayed by Dow Jones. "So I don't think we are really disadvantaged at all."

Sprint is currently in the middle of rolling out its 4G LTE infrastructure, with plans to have the faster wireless technology in 10 cities by the end of June. By comparison, Verizon has its 4G LTE network in 196 cities and 122 major airports, with AT&T coming in at 28 cities. AT&T also counts its HSPA+ network as "4G," a wireless protocol found on Apple's iPhone 4S and many other recent-model smartphones.

Last year, Sprint became the latest major U.S. carrier to support the iPhone, joining AT&T and Verizon. As part of that deal, the carrier committed to investing $20 billion on more than 30 million handsets over the next few years.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, Sprint disclosed that a large chunk of its customers would have signed up with it last year, even if it didn't carry the iPhone, and that only a small number of customers left for other carriers before it carried the popular smartphone.

Apple is expected to include 4G LTE technology in its next iPhone, which is likely due out this fall. The company debuted its first 4G LTE-capable device -- the third-generation iPad -- earlier this month. That device supported both AT&T and Verizon's 4G LTE networks, but not Sprint's.

(via The Verge)