On Oct. 7, Sprint held a press conference for the new Apple iPhone 4S and for the company's plans for its own 4G network, which it has planned to roll out in the middle of the next year.

Following the Oct. 4 iPhone 4S release and the death of Steve Jobs, Sprint's press conference didn't make too much of a whimper on the news wires. Instead, it was more of a talking head, including top Sprint executives. However, the event did carry hints of a 4G LTE iPhone 5 in 2012.

The iPhone is the best global brand in the tech space and the lack of a smartphone in their list of smartphones was the main reason for Sprint's loss of customers over the past few years, said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in his opening remarks.

According to Hesse, with higher subsidies on the iPhone than other phones, the iPhone 4S is expected to be one of Sprint's most profitable products, and a chance at increasing profit margins of the company.

The company revealed that it is investing in a wide-reaching 4G LTE network and planning to roll out the service in mid 2012. Although the company didn't mention anything about the iPhone 5, its investment in 4G technology, coupled with the inclination toward the iPhone brand, does suggest that the year 2012 could possibly witness the iPhone 5, or whatever the name would be, as the Cupertino tech giant's first LTE smartphone.

Reporters were told at the event that it would take two to three years from now for Sprint to fully enable their 4G network, and its first 4G devices will be dual-mode CDMA/LTE devices. The devices will include both tablets and smartphones that are expected to be available in mid 2012. That would also be the time for Apple Inc.'s 2012 WWDC. Sprint is expecting 15 4G-ready devices in the first wave.

Sprint revealed that over the next 4 years, the cost for the LTE chipset is set to decline and is expected to come in line with price of the current 3G chip sets. This could probably be one of the main reasons why Apple decided not to deploy LTE technology into the iPhone 4S.

The carrier also said that its modified network infrastructure will combine both 3G and 4G network platforms. It is expected to be flexible, with less utility requirement, less of a footprint and, at the same time, at low-cost.