AT&T Sony Xperia Ion Spotted at FCC

The Sony Xperia Ion, announced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, is now one step closer to launching on AT&T’s 4G LTE network in the U.S. The device is seen as a variant of the flagship Sony Xperia S, but with a larger display and with 4G LTE mobile broadband support. Though the smartphone was announced along with a number of other 4G devices in January, thus far neither AT&T nor Sony has announced a release date for the phone.

The phone has a 4.6-inch 720p HD display along with NFC support.

Interestingly, according to Engadget, there are some things to point out with the FCC registration for this device as it gains regulatory approval in the U.S. First is that the 3G bands support AT&T’s 850 and 1900 MHz bands as well as the 1700 MHz band utilized by rival GSM carrier T-Mobile USA–T-Mobile’s 2100 Mhz spectrum was not present. The likely explanation is that AT&T was working with Sony on this device at a time when the carrier was pushing for approval of its now failed acquisition of T-Mobile. Since then, AT&T had walked away from trying to acquire T-Mobile USA due to strong opposition and fear that it won’t be successful in that bid.

Also, the label for the phone submitted to the FCC bears the Sony Ericsson name. At CES, Sony said that the phone will likely come to market under the Sony moniker and this is probably one of the last devices that was made or designed when Sony and Ericsson were still partners in the joint venture. Sony and Ericsson had split up with Sony buying out Ericsson’s stake, renaming the phone division as Sony Mobile Communications.

There is speculation that the phone will be launching this June.

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