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Carriers Testing Apple LTE Devices? You'd Hope So ...

4:55 PM -- At least one of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s carrier partners is now said to be testing a Long Term Evolution (LTE) device on its network.

Jonathan Geller over at the Boy Genius Report has uncovered an LTE property list in "an internal iOS test build" from an unnamed carrier partner.

As Geller notes, this helps to confirm that Apple and its carrier partners are working on LTE devices for a future release. But, it certainly doesn't indicate that an LTE iPhone 5 will arrive in September or October.

It would, in fact, be more surprising if Apple hadn't started testing the 4G technology with its carrier buddies. We know that Apple is actively staffing up for LTE. What the latest information from BGR doesn't tell is how far along the testing path Apple and the carriers are.

Recall that in August 2009 Verizon Wireless made its first "successful data calls" on its LTE network with test units from LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC). Samsung's first LTE smartphone for Verizon -- the Droid Charge -- arrived on the network this May. (See Verizon Charges Up 2nd LTE Smartphone.) That's the kind of development curve we might be looking at for Apple, too. Since we don't know how far the vendor is with LTE -- or even exactly what the carriers are testing -- I'm not holding my breath for a bumper crop of LTE Apples this fall just yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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