While Sprint was likely saving news of its first-ever 4G LTE phone until the Consumer Electronics Show next week, an online ad leaked the news a bit early.

Sprint will launch its own version of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus as its first LTE device, according to an ad that ran on CNet yesterday (see right). Notably, the phone will be slightly faster than current iterations, clocking in at 1.5 gigahertz instead of 1.2Ghz.

Yesterday, Sprint announced its first LTE markets, Atlanta, Dallas. Houston, and San Antonio, will launch in the middle of the year. The Galaxy Nexus news makes Sprint the second US carrier to offer the phone, alongside Verizon. (We expect AT&T will announce its plans for the phone next week.)

With Sprint starting off with one of the best Android phones on the market, it’s going to be tough going for any other LTE devices that launch alongside its new 4G network. Since Sprint is starting in only a few markets, though, it likely doesn’t have many other LTE handsets lined up.

To refresh, the Galaxy Nexus inches into tablet territory with its 4.65-inch screen. Spec-wise, the phone has pretty much everything you’d want in a dream device (although its camera still lags behind the iPhone 4S’ more sophisticated 8-megapixel shooter). The Galaxy Nexus is also notable for being the first Android 4.0 device.

Via the Verge