The stars seem to be aligning for an LTE iPhone in 2012. Friday, Sprint announced it plans to offer wireless 4G service “by the middle of 2012” with the faster wireless network complete by the end of 2013. This bolsters reports earlier this week that thinner LTE chips for the iPhone could be ready by the third quarter of next year.
The Reuters’ report cites a “top executive” at Sprint. Dan Hesse, CEO of the No. 3 U.S. carrier, said the iPhone 4S will be “quite accretive,” accounting lingo for mucho profitability. Sprint reportedly bought $20 billion worth of iPhones in a four-year plan aimed at competing against rivals AT&T and Verizon, operators who also offer the Apple smartphone.
Although he did not provide specifics about just how much profit the iPhone could pull into the carrier, Friday marks the first day when consumers could pre-order the iPhone 4S from Sprint.
Earlier this week, a report surfaced suggesting Apple is waiting until later in 2012 to introduce the “iPhone 5.” First generation LTE chips were too bulky to include in the just-released iPhone 4S, but chipmaker Qualcomm is expected to have a slimmer design ready for the third-quarter of 2012, according to various reports.
The absence of 4G in the iPhone 4S led some consumers to be disappointed by the Apple announcement, prompting a raft of Wall Street analysts to reassure the post-Steve Jobs tech company would remain faithful to its co-founder.