Sprint Making Progress Getting Customers to Buy LTE Smartphones

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Sprint announced this morning that, during the third quarter of this year, its customers bought over a million smartphones that can connect to its nascent 4G LTE network.

Sprint LogoThe carrier is in the process of switching from WiMAX to LTE for 4G service, and only a small percentage of its users have access to the new network, which is faster than the company’s previous one. It’s currently available in 32 areas, but is growing, with 115 more scheduled for the near future.

The iPhone Factor

It was only a year ago that this Sprint was given the right to offer Apple’s iPhone, and the device has clearly become important to it. The company reported today that sold 1.5 million new Apple smartphones in Q3.

As the iPhone 5 is Apple’s first with LTE, the release of this model in September helped add to the telecom’s LTE rolls — the 1 million LTE-enabled handset figure cited earlier does not include the iPhone.

Sprint is the third-largest carrier in the U.S. by a wide margin. Counting the total number of subscribers, it is dwarfed by AT&T and Verizon. This is reflected in the number of iPhones sold last quarter: AT&T sold 4.7 million while Verizon sold 3.1 million.

The telecom did not reveal the total number of smartphones it sold in Q3.

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