News Analysis: The Federal Communications Commission has approved the first LTE (Long Term Evolution) handset, the Samsung SCH-r900. Furthermore, Verizon is testing its LTE Network in Boston and Seattle. Can a true iPhone 4G for the Verizon LTE network be far behind?
So what's an iPhone 4X4? If you're at Verizon Wireless,
it's not the latest SUV, but instead is the iPhone 4 with 4G data
communications. Verizon has been building out its 4G LTE test network for some
time now, and is reportedly already testing a version of the iPhone in its test
What's more important is that LTE handsets are already on
their way to market, meaning that an iPhone 4G device would be an important
early introduction for a device that might otherwise be starting to lose its
luster under the onslaught of Android smartphones.
According to an article
in ARS Technica, on July 30, the Federal Communications Commission has just
approved the first LTE handset, a Samsung SCH-r900,
which will run on MetroPCS, possibly in Las Vegas
to start. If the version of LTE being built out by MetroPCS meets the expected
4G standards, it'll be the fastest and highest capacity wireless network in the
at least until Verizon Wireless goes public.
Right now the only 4G network operating commercially in
the United States
is Sprint's WiMax service, and while it's called 4G, it certainly doesn't provide
the speeds that are normally associated with a 4G service. In fact, T-Mobile's
HSPA+ 3G network is about twice as fast as Sprint's 4G. Furthermore, even
though Sprint is currently riding on Clear's network, it's also working on
creating its own, much faster 4G network using LTE. T-Mobile is also working on
an LTE 4G network, although it's unclear how far along those plans are.
Currently, there's not a great deal of information
available about the SCH-r900. We do know
that it's a CDMA device, that it has a full touch screen, and of course that it
will support very fast data transfer. However, MetroPCS is not a major carrier,
so it's tough to know whether this is an effort to gain a bigger national
profile, or a way to differentiate itself in the prepaid markets it already
serves. The indications are that this will be an Android device as has been the
case with other recently released smartphones from Samsung.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.