HTC likely will offer its first LTE smartphones in the second half of 2011, the company's CEO said, which could mean the vendor will not be part of the first wave of LTE smartphones arriving early next year.
"We are working on an LTE device for next year, 2011," HTC CEO Peter Chou told Mobile Business Briefing in response to a question about its LTE plans. "We think the U.S. mobile operators will be taking a lead and pushing 4G LTE in the U.S. market. However, we are seeing the rest of the world will be deploying LTE networks as well in 2011. It could be the second half of 2011."
Chou told FierceWireless in September that the Taiwanese smartphone maker would produce an LTE smartphone next year. HTC supplied Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) with the carrier's first mobile WiMAX smartphone, the Evo 4G.
HTC's launch timeline could mean the company will miss out on initial LTE smartphone launches by MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). MetroPCS has said it will launch its first Android-based LTE smartphone in the first quarter, and Verizon has indicated that its first LTE smartphone will be available in February. Verizon is expected to demonstrate a range of LTE devices next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Chou also said HTC is interested in incorporating Near Field Communications technology into its phones, which can be used for mobile payments. Making "mobile payments wirelessly and securely from a device like a smartphone will definitely be the trend of the future, and we'll be supporting that," he said.
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