Sprint, Clearwire and their cable partners are expecting an enormous boost now that they finally have a smartphone available that will work across Sprint’s 3G network and Clearwire’s WiMAX (4G) network.
The initial response was clearly encouraging. HTC’s Evo 4G, the first 4G phone in the U.S. market, went on sale Friday. Sprint said sales were so high that there were shortages.
The carrier claimed the number of HTC Evo 4G devices sold Friday was three times the number of the Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined, marking the largest quantity of a single phone sold in one day ever for Sprint. Reviews of the device are overwhelmingly positive.
BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk estimates Sprint sold at least 250,000 HTC Evos through retail stores over its launch weekend and said the number could have topped 300,000 with pre-orders.
Neither Comcast nor Time Warner Cable have yet to announce any specific plans about adding mobile phone service through their investments in Clearwire. Clearwire only recently announced adding service in the first market covered by its third cable investor, Bright House Networks; Bright House has yet to comment on reselling mobile broadband, let alone mobile telephony.
The HTC Evo is the first 4G handset to hit the U.S. market. The Android 2.1 device has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and can support up to eight devices through its Wi-Fi hotspot capability.
Through Clearwire’s WiMAX network, Sprint 4G covers 43 million people and expects to have up to 120 million people covered by the end of 2010.
– Wireless Week’s Maisie Ramsay contributed to this report