Sprint's LTE device lineup headlined by Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Viper

LAS VEGAS--Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) confirmed that its first three LTE devices will be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper smartphones, as well as a mobile hotspot from Sierra Wireless that can also access Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network. The product announcements, while vague in terms of pricing or timing, were part of a steady drumbeat of LTE device announcements here at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Sprint's LTE devices include the LG Viper.

Sprint said that pricing, availability and more detailed specifications for each device will be announced closer to the devices' market availability, but Sprint reconfirmed that around 15 LTE devices, including handsets, tablets and data cards, are on track to be launched in 2012.

Interestingly, Sprint's press release makes mention of unlimited data service for the forthcoming gadgets, although it's not clear if the carrier is referring to its existing unlimited data service for its CDMA 3G network or its forthcoming LTE 4G network. A Sprint spokeswoman declined to answer questions on whether Sprint will continue to offer unlimited data service on its planned 4G LTE network.

The device announcement was hinted at last week when an advertisement for a Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus appeared online briefly. The product details also come shortly after Sprint CEO Dan Hesse indicated that Sprint will launch LTE service in 10 markets by mid-year using its new Network Vision multi-mode base stations; four of those 10 markets will be Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, Texas.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), which currently covers 200 million POPs with LTE, has launched an LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus, the first phone to run the Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 version of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. Sprint also said it will launch the LG Viper, which will run Android 2.3 and sport a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 4-inch WVGA screen. It will also support Google Wallet, which is conspicuous in its absence on Verizon's version of the phone. Sprint will also release the Sierra Wireless Tri-Network Hotspot, which will support Sprint's FDD-LTE network, WiMAX and EV-DO data networks.

Earlier this year Sprint announced that it had deployed its first multi-mode base station in Branchburg, N.J., and its first LTE network cluster in Kankakee, Ill., about 50 miles south of Chicago. Sprint's extensive Network Vision upgrade will deploy LTE using the company's 1900 MHz spectrum. The company plans to have 123 million LTE POPs covered by the end of 2012 and 250 million to 277 million POPs covered with LTE by the end of 2013.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Sprint site

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