With the availability of the HTC Vivid and the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, two of the most advanced smartphones today on the market, AT&T is showing its commitment to making smartphones affordable. Both handsets support the newer 4G LTE network, which is only available in limited markets right now, but can also fall back onto AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ network as well where LTE is not available.
Starting this past weekend, the handsets hopefully will usher in a new trend in 4G LTE pricing. Whereas most high end smartphones with 4G LTE support on rival Verizon’s network launch with a price tag of upwards of $300, the HTC Vivid starts at $100 after instant discounts online and with a 2-year contract. That handset supports a dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU, high resolution qHD display, and HTC’s advanced 8-megapixel camera–the same variety that’s found on the HTC Amaze 4G on rival T-Mobile USA’s network. The Galaxy S II Skyrocket features a large 4.5-inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display, dual-core processing power, and ultra slim design at just $150 on contract.
While AT&T is still building out its network, these prices–which are more affordable–will hopefully help the carrier catch up to its rival Verizon, which already has a large 4G LTE coverage footprint. It’s an interesting approach as AT&T tries to play catch up, but AT&T may have an advantage over Verizon if coverage was equal. Given that AT&T operates a GSM network with HSPA+ support, its LTE phones can be used with worldwide HSPA+ networks for global roaming.