Sprint launches first LTE phone – LG Viper

US mobile operator Sprint has announced its first 4G LTE handset, the LG Viper — a 4 inch, dual-core mobile phone — priced at $99.99, with a new two-year service agreement and $50 mail-in rebate.

The device will go on sale on April 22. Customers can preorder the Android 2.3 phone and get it as early as April 20, Sprint said in a statement.

The phone will work on Sprint’s LTE network. Sprint also runs a 4G Wimax network.

LG Viper has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and includes a 4GB microSD card.

“The sleek, ultra-thin smartphone also boasts a 4-inch bright and clear touchscreen display for better viewing under direct sunlight. It features a Gorilla Glass screen protector for extra display resistance,” Sprint said.

The phone also has a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and a VGA front-facing camera.

The phone’s original price is around $400, Sprint said.

Sprint recently announced Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio are expected to have 4G LTE and enhanced 3G service in mid-year 2012.

Verizon has already launched its LTE network.

LTE enables faster speeds for data applications, and the enhanced 3G service could offer better signal strength, faster data speeds, expanded coverage and better in-building performance, Sprint said.

“The upcoming launch of these large metropolitan areas demonstrates the continued commitment by Sprint to invest in its network through Network Vision,” Sprint said.

LG Viper customers can enroll for Sprint’s Everything Data plan with unlimited web, texting and calling to and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint Network, starting at just $79.99 per month for smartphones.

The plan is priced at $40 per month lower than Verizon’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and 2GB Web, and $10 per month lower than Verizon’s 450-minute plan with unlimited text and 2GB Web.