In a study conducted earlier this week by research firm Localytics, nearly 37 percent of all Android smartphones are now 4G-enabled. While the term 4G is still a loose description of faster data speeds beyond 3G capable phones, the research firm defined LTE, WiMAX, or HSPA+ capable phones as being 4G-enabled. The top three smartphones driving this growth of 4G adoption include the HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon, the HTC Evo 4G on Sprint and the Samsung Droid Charge on Verizon. Other contributing smartphones include the Sprint Epic 4G, HTC myTouch 4G on t-Mobile, Motorola Atrix on AT&T, EVO Shift 4G on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy S 4G on T-Mobile, HTC EVO 3D on Sprint and LG Revolution on Verizon.
Of the major carriers, Verizon uses LTE, Sprint uses WiMAX and AT&T as well as T-Mobile utilize HSPA+. Verizon has been the fastest in rolling out a 4G LTE network reaching about 160 million Americans across in over 117 U.S. cities. While this roll-out has occurred in just over eight months, Verizon expects to reach nearly 175 U.S. cities by the end of the year as well as push out the service to more rural areas. Verizon claims that the 4G LTE network is capable of delivering download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second. AT&T has been slower in rolling out their LTE network with plans to cover only 15 markets by the end of the year. AT&T LTE coverage areas include Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Dallas and San Antonio.
Sprint also plans to launch a LTE network in early 2012 and has relied on WiMAX to provide higher download speeds in the interim. With possible competition to Android 4G phones, all eyes are on Apple while the company prepares an announcement around the new iPhone scheduled for October 4. While the company stated concerns about the first-generation LTE chipsets in April 2011, the company is reported to be testing 4G LTE with the iPhone 5.