Microsoft launching its LTE Windows Phone handsets with AT&T in early 2012

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Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite gave us a sneak peek into Microsoft’s plans for LTE in the US market next year. According to his inside information, the Redmond company is planning to announce three new LTE handsets at CES in January. The LTE-based phones will land on AT&T’s network and will include the Nokia Ace, the HTC Radiant and the Samsung Mendel.

Unfortunately, Verizon isn’t on Microsoft’s short list for LTE phones. As a consolation prize, the carrier will get the Lumia 710 in April 2012. It’s code named the “Sword” and will be a CDMA version of the recently announced GSM handset. Verizon will be the second US carrier to offer the entry-level handset. Nokia is also launching the Lumia 710 with T-Mobile in January 2012.

The biggest remaining mystery is when Microsoft will introduce LTE into its Windows Phone OS. The current mango version of the mobile operating system does not support LTE, and an upcoming Tango update is supposed to target lower-end phones. LTE is decidedly a high-end feature, so it likely won’t be included in this next update. Of course, these earlier rumors may be wrong and Microsoft could surprise us by adding LTE into Tango or possibly releasing another update early next year that has 4G support.

[WinSuperSite]

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