It sure took its sweet time in getting here, but the Samsung Galaxy S 4 for Verizon has arrived. The carrier ultimately pushed the handset’s release date up a little, getting it into customer hands last week, rather than the May 30 date originally put forth. That alone was good news, but now it’s sounding like there’s a even better treat for Verizon GS4 users coming in the future, with word that the smartphone will be the first to tap into the carrier’s new spectrum holdings.
The name of the game is AWS, which you might know better as the 1700MHz band. We’re used to talking about it in terms of T-Mobile and its 3G network, but Verizon has secured the rights for its own use of some of these frequencies (acquired from Comcast) for its LTE network.
Once things are ready to go live, devices that can connect to this band will see data speeds “more than double.” Like the LTE support we saw on a number of T-Mobile models that was activated after-the-fact (Note II), Verizon’s Galaxy S 4 has hardware support for LTE on AWS, and it will be enabled in a forthcoming update.
Verizon’s AWS network will come on in stages, and should hit its first major markets in a few months – that gives us a rough timetable for when we might hope to see the phone’s update arrive.