Ever since trouble started to arise for LightSquared, Sprint has been scrambling to build their own 4G LTE network. They looked to launch sometime in the next couple months. Ahead of that, Sprint had a pretty clever idea and that was to launch a line of handsets that had their new 4G LTE technology in them so customers could have the devices in their hands upon network launch day. All would seem grerat with that idea, except for the fact that one of their flagship phones, the HTC Evo 4G LTE (and AT&T's HTC One X), ran into some problems. Days before the attempted street date of May 18th for the device, customs held up the shipment on US docks because of Apple placing an ITC violation against HTC.
The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.
The problem? Apple claims the dialer app and Sense UI, which comes pre-loaded on HTC devices, infringes on Apple's patents. It seems like Apple is grasping at straws lately. Nevertheless, HTC said it was working on a fix and Sprint customers would have the Evo 4G LTE in their hands shortly.
Turns out that the solution only took six days and there's more on that after the break.
This week, we learned that customs cleared the devices in question and customers should be receiving the phones as soon as today, May 24th. The patent issue is no longer as HTC has slightly changed the way the phones in the US operate. Sprint has posted a message on their site, updating customers of the situation.
Customers who pre-ordered HTC EVO 4G LTE…Your wait is almost over! Sprint expects to begin shipping HTC EVO 4G LTE for arrival on or around Thursday, May 24 to customers who pre-ordered the device online from Sprint. We will provide details on the full national launch as soon as possible. Thank you to everyone who has been patient while waiting for their HTC EVO 4G LTE. We will continue to update this post as additional details are available. To check the status of your pre-order, please visit www.sprint.com/myorder. You will receive a shipping confirmation email with tracking number the moment your new phone ships.
It's interesting to see how fast HTC worked to turn this around for the companies that would have been affected by the delay. This certainly speaks volumes to Sprint, which without one of their 4G LTE phones, would've had a harder time getting customers to either upgrade from 3G or switch from WiMAX. WiMAX, their existing albeit slower 4G network, will still be operational through 2015).
Customers will also be allowed to cancel their pre-orders because of the delay if they choose to be that angry over a few days.
Cancellation procedure update:
We are allowing customers to cancel their pre-order and receive refunds. If you need to cancel your order, you may either call care directly at 866-789-8292, refuse delivery, or request a return authorization kit once your device arrives. For a return kit, please call us at 866-789-8292 during the following business hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 am EST to 11:00 pm EST, and Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am EST to 9:00 pm EST.
I would've loved to be a fly on the wall in one of their shipment hubs, watching these phones rapidly get loaded onto trucks and fly out the bay doors to get them to all locations in just a few days. Are you getting the new Evo? Are you an existing customer who's going to upgrade, or are you a potentially new customer to Sprint? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section below.