HTC to offer LTE phone next year

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HTC will release an LTE phone next year, the company's CEO said.

In an exclusive interview with FierceWireless, HTC CEO Peter Chou said the smartphone vendor plans to release a phone for LTE networks sometime next year. He declined to provide any more details, including when, where and what kind of phone would be released.

"HTC was the first with 3G smartphone and 4G smartphone, and we are definitely looking to future network technologies," he said.

The news is notable because a number of major wireless operators, including Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) in the United States, plan to roll out LTE networks throughout this year and next. Verizon Wireless plans to launch LTE services in 25-30 markets, covering 100 million POPs, by the end of this year, while AT&T plans to launch LTE by the middle of next year and hopes to cover 70-75 million POPs by the end of 2011.

Indeed, MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) launched LTE services in Las Vegas this week with the Craft phone from Samsung.

Verizon has said it will only offer LTE USB sticks initially, and that LTE phones will become available starting next year. HTC is a major smartphone supplier to both Verizon and AT&T.

Chou also discussed HTC's plans for adding its Sense UI to Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 7 platform. Click here for the full story. FierceWireless will publish a full transcript of its interview with Chou on Monday.

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AT&T to launch LTE by mid-2011