Samsung announced a new, ultra-fast version of its Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone last week, but there’s a problem – no major U.S. carrier is able to support the device’s top speed at this point.
The Galaxy S4 LTE-A is built to run on next-generation mobile networks known as LTE-Advanced. That technology is seen as the next step in the way users connect to the Internet through their carriers, following up on 3G, 4G and then 4G LTE networks in the past few years.
“The introduction of the Galaxy S4 LTE-A demonstrates Samsung’s desire and ability to provide consumers with technological innovations that take advantage of increased network speeds to deliver richer and fuller experiences,” Samsung co-Chief Executive J.K. Shin said in a statement.
The tech giant says the GS4 LTE-A is the first commercial smartphone that can work with LTE-Advanced, and as such it can browse the Web, stream movies and download apps much faster than other devices.
Samsung says the GS4 LTE-A will launch later this summer in South Korea; the company did not say when it might come out in the United States. That may be because currently, no major U.S. carrier has a full LTE-Advanced network.
Sprint says its network has some LTE-Advanced features already, and will add more over the summer. But its network is not officially LTE-Advanced and its LTE capabilities are available in only a handful of cities.
T-Mobile says it also plans to deploy LTE-Advanced features before the year’s end.
Verizon and AT&T, meanwhile, have not made announcements regarding LTE-Advanced.
When asked about whether the carriers could support the new Samsung phone, AT&T and Verizon both declined to comment and T-Mobile did not respond.
Sprint said the phone would work on its network, but not at its top speeds. Sprint’s LTE network is slower than the LTE-Advanced.