Sprint: An Epic Win?

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) wants you to know that "not all Galaxy S devices are created equal" as it launches its second WiMax smartphone, the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Epic 4G, in the US.

Sprint had piles of data sheets extolling the virtues of the Epic above other devices in Samsung's Galaxy S Android-based smartphone line carried by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile US Inc. , and Verizon Wireless in stores as it launched the Epic this morning. (See Samsung Gets Epic With WiMax Smarty for Sprint.)

The key difference between the rest of the phones and the Epic is that it supports 3G, WiFi, and so-called "4G" WiMax in the markets where it is available. This is something of a moot point in Manhattan since Sprint's WiMax partner, Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), hasn't yet gone live with the faster mobile broadband in the Big Apple, although this is due to happen by the end of the year. (See Verizon Breathing Down Sprint's 4G Neck.)

Nonetheless, Sprint says it currently has "4G" service in over 35 markets in the US with 120 million people covered by the end of 2010. The operator is also highlighting the full Qwerty keyboard and dual on-board cameras, which will enable video chat, as winning factors for the Epic over the rest of the Galaxy S line.

Phone freaks online actually seem more concerned with debating the merits of Sprint's first WiMax phone, the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) EVO, against the Epic. It's a valid concern, as the HTC device retails at $199.99, compared to $249.99 for the Epic.

Sprint has even made a video contrasting the two:

Its not yet clear how the Epic is selling compared to the EVO, which was in limited supply for weeks after its June launch. Sprint staff at a 34th Street store in Manhattan ducked any questions on first-day sales this morning.

Nonetheless, Samsung says that it has already shipped 1 million Galaxy S phones to the US. AT&T and T-Mobile have Galaxy S phones out; Verizon Wireless is due to launch one next. (See Samsung's US Galaxy Quest.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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