Sprint promises 4G phones in 2010, but not by summer

Sprint denies a Forbes report that its 4G WiMax phones would arrive by this summer.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German

Correction: The number of Sprint WiMax markets is now 27.

Sprint is denying that one of its execs told Forbes this week that the carrier will introduce WiMax phones by the summer. According to spokeswoman Michelle Mermelstein, Sprint will keep its earlier promise to deliver WiMax devices by the end of the year, but she would not set a specific time frame.

Even as AT&T and Verizon Wireless pursue LTE for their 4G networks, Sprint and its partners have planted their flag firmly in the WiMax camp. After annnouncing the 4G network in 2006, the carrier chose Baltimore as its debut WiMax city in October 2008. Since that time, and despite some challenges, Sprint slowly expanded the network to an additional 17 markets.

That's why we can't help but wonder if something is up. The carrier enthusiastically introduced a 3G/4G wireless Wi-Fi router at CES last month, and it has made WiMax a centerpiece of its services. A router is great, but when you're promoting a service you can only go so long without any compatible phones. There's still a lot of time between February and the summer months, including next month's CTIA show, so anything could happen.