Sprint won’t be left behind when the LTE iPhone comes

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Aiming to quash fears that Sprint will once again be left behind in iPhone availability, the carrier’s chief financial officer Joe Euteneuer said today that it could offer an LTE 4G iPhone whenever Apple makes one available.

Speaking at an investor conference today, Euteneuer said Sprint’s contract with Apple is similar to AT&T and Verizon’s, reports Dow Jones. Specifically, he said Sprint isn’t being held to any 4G coverage requirements before it makes the iPhone available. Sprint plans to debut LTE in six U.S. cities by the middle of the year, covering 100 million Americans.

“If you make the assumption that [Apple will] launch a device at a similar time they did last year, [we're] basically done [covering] the major markets,” Euteneuer said, regarding the company’s LTE rollout.  “So I don’t think we are really disadvantaged at all.”

Sprint was the last major carrier to receive the iPhone, and it seems as if the carrier has bet its entire future on Apple’s smartphone, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Sprint reportedly agreed to buy 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years, a deal potentially worth around $20 billion.

Euteneuer didn’t actually confirm that an LTE iPhone was coming, but given that the latest iPad touts LTE as one of its biggest additions, I’d think it’s a safe bet for the next iPhone. I never questioned whether Sprint would be able to offer an LTE iPhone — the real question is if the carrier’s new LTE network will be ready in time.