Sprint and HTC on Wednesday unveiled the LTE-capable HTC Evo 4G LTE, which comes equipped with Sprint’s new HD Voice technology. The Evo 4G LTE is a successor to the original HTC EVO 4G, which was Sprint’s first WiMAX device.
The Evo 4G comes running 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich with the new HTC Sense 4 UI overlay. The device features 4.7-inch HD display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2000mAh embedded battery and dual-cameras (8-megapixel rear-facing and 1.3-megapixel front-facing).
The Evo 4G will be available in the second quarter for $199.99 with a two-year contract, but customers can pre-order the device online beginning May 7.
Meanwhile, Sprint also has included in the Evo 4G support for a new HD Voice network, which will launch as part of the carrier’s Network Vision initiative. Sprint claims the service, which employs an advanced audio compression technique, will provide “fuller, more natural-sounding and less fatiguing voice quality," while reducing background noise.
Use of the technology is initially limited and requires each party to use a Sprint HD Voice capable phone. The Evo 4G is currently the only Sprint HD Voice-enabled device available. Sprint was vague about where the service will be offered, saying in a press release that it would available in Sprint 3G HD Voice-enabled markets.
Sprint is still in the early days of its LTE rollout. The company recently announced that it expects to have LTE coverage, as well as “enhanced 3G service,” in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio by the middle of 2012.
Sprint announced its Network Vision initiative, which includes phasing out its iDen network by 2013, in December of 2010. The carrier has signed contracts with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung to install new network equipment and software that will bring together multiple spectrum bands, or airwaves, on a single, multimode base station.
Speaking at a conference last week, Sprint executive Bob Azzi said the proposed network overhaul will drop the number of cell sites it operates by 44 percent.
Sprint estimates the total incremental cost of the Network Vision program during the deployment period to be between $4 billion and $5 billion and projects total net financial benefit for a seven-year period to be between $10 billion and $11 billion.