Samsung scores FCC approval for first LTE phone

Samsung is possibly the first device manufacturer to gain approval for a phone based on the 4G LTE standard

Samsung appears to have won the race to be the first device manufacturer to gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission for a phone based on the 4G LTE standard.

The state of 4G in 2010

Currently known as the Samsung R900, the device will have LTE connectivity as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G EV-DO Rev. A connectivity. The FCC tested the phone in a lab in Columbia, Md., last month and found that it complied with the appropriate FCC rules. Although the FCC's test results didn't specifically mention which carrier will get the phone, Phone Scoop reports that the spectrum used in the tests matches up with prepaid wireless carrier MetroPCS, which had already announced plans to launch an LTE device in certain markets by year-end.

4G technologies such as LTE and WiMAX represent the next stage in the evolution of wireless data technologies and generally deliver average download rates of 3Mbps or higher. In contrast, today's 3G networks typically deliver average download speeds about one-tenth of that rate. Verizon will be the first major U.S. carrier to offer LTE services, as it will have its LTE network up and running in as many as 30 major markets with many more to come in 2011.

By the end of 2013, Verizon plans to have its entire current 3G footprint covered by its 4G technology and to also expand its 4G services into areas that don't currently have 3G. The carrier will primarily be using the 22MHz chunk of spectrum it obtained during the 700MHz auction in 2008 to build out its LTE network nationwide.

AT&T and T-Mobile are planning to follow Verizon with commercial LTE launches of their own in 2011. Sprint is the only major U.S. wireless carrier to utilize WiMAX and it is currently on track to have its WiMAX services up and running in all major U.S. markets by year-end.

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