Samsung Galaxy S III to become Russia's first LTE phone, reach 17 cities on December 20th

LTE has been available in Russia for some time, but it's largely been the province of modems and tablets until now. Samsung wants 4G to be more pocketable in St. Petersburg -- it's launching the quad-core Galaxy S III LTE as the country's first LTE smartphone. The flagship should reach 17 Russian cities on December 20th through local carrier MegaFon at a premium price of 29,990 rubles ($973) off-contract. Those who do jump in early on will get up to 100Mbps downstream and the promise of VoLTE calls once testing wraps up. And before you ask: while the iPhone 5 is arriving in Russia a week earlier, on December 14th, there's no indication that it will serve up LTE. Russian 4G networks run on the 2.6GHz band that the iPhone 5 doesn't support despite its many frequencies; the Galaxy S III should be the first to put its LTE to full use in the region.