Samsung has launched a smartphone called the Craft, which it claims is the first commercially available LTE-enabled handset, in a move that could have network providers ramping up 4G deployments.
The Craft has a 3.3in Amoled touch screen and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, and will retail for $299 (£190) plus tax, with monthly price plans at $55 (£35) or $60 (£38).
However, the phone will be able to access LTE networks only in Las Vegas for the time being, as it has been launched to coincide with the activation of a 4G network in the city by MetroPCS Communications.
MetroPCS built the network using infrastructure from Samsung, and expects to add other cities across the US in the coming months.
"It is extremely gratifying to introduce the Samsung Craft as the world's first commercially available LTE-enabled handset operating on the first LTE commercial network," said Samsung Mobile chief strategy officer Omar Khan.
The gradual deployment of LTE networks is expected to bring several benefits in the mobile world, offering browsing speeds of between 30Mbit/s and 60Mbit/s and reducing the strain on 3G networks.
However, UK smartphone users will have to wait for the technology. Andrew Conway, head of radio engineering at O2, told V3.co.uk last month that, despite successful trials in Slough, it will be some time before the technology is commercially available.
"It's certainly a question of years not months before LTE comes to market. The trial we are carrying out is very in-depth and being supplemented with lab tests to work out key issues," he said.
"This has revolved around learning about the practicalities of installing equipment and software, and then connecting this back to the main network."
Nevertheless, Conway hinted that 4G networks could help to change the mobile internet market.
"The connections we are seeing are even faster than connecting through a corporate LAN and, such is the capability of 4G, the test network we have in Slough could handle all the 3G traffic we see in our network nationwide," he said.
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