Happy Galaxy Nexus Day, Sprint fans! Or soon-to-be fans. While the good news is that you can finally get your hands on one of the more highly rated Android phones around, you won’t be able to tap into the full capabilities of Samsung’s smartphone just yet.
Why’s that? Sprint is still in the process of rolling out a 4G LTE network to match the Galaxy Nexus’ connection capabilities. Which means that you’re going to be stuck with a simpler 3G connection for the time being until Sprint begins its 4G LTE launch.
Six cities are expected to go live with Sprint 4G LTE by the middle of the year, likely around June: Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Kansas City, and Baltimore. And Sprint’s party line is that it’ll be able to cover 123 million users with 4G service by the end of the year, increasing to 250 million by the end of 2013.
So what’s the point of buying a 4G LTE smartphone before the network rolls out? Ignoring all of the device’s accoutrements for a moment, which includes support for NFC payments through Google Wallet (an app sadly missing from the Verizon-based Galaxy Nexus) and a tighter integration of Google Voice, the Galaxy Nexus is actually quite a bit cheaper to order on Sprint than it is on competing Verizon.
If you’re going through Sprint directly, the new Galaxy Nexus costs a mere $ 200 with a new two-year service agreement. That’s all of $ 100 cheaper than a similar arrangement through Verizon, but it’s still not the best deal around. The third-party shop Wirefly is listing Sprint’s Galaxy Nexus for $ 150 (same two-year service deal applies for new customers or upgrades).
That’s great news for Sprint customers (or to-be customers) looking to save a bit of cash when switching over to the Galaxy Nexus, but not something you might want to brag about to your Verizon-leaning friends. A Galaxy Nexus and a new two-year agreement on Verizon costs a mere $ 50 on Wirefly; only existing Verizon customers upgrading to a Galaxy Nexus have to pay the full $ 150.
Also joining Sprint’s family today is the four-inch LG Viper ($ 99, direct from Sprint; $ 20-$ 50 from Wirefly) and the LG Optimus Elite, a 3.5-inch Android smartphone available exclusively on Sprint for $ 30 (following a $ 50 mail-in rebate).