A few days ago Android watchers were abuzz after a new version of Verizon's Galaxy S4 appeared on Samsung's site. Listed as model number SCH-I545L, there was some speculation it could be a spec bump on the original GS4. Maybe even a version of the device with LTE-Advanced? The truth behind that extra "L" at the end of the model number is much more mundane. It's for rural carriers, according to Verizon.

2013-09-10 16_03_39-Galaxy S4 Android Phone in White Generic - Air Gesture & 13MP Camera _ Samsung

You could be forgiven for not knowing that Verizon runs a rural LTE initiative. Verizon has a lot of licenses to the 700MHz spectrum, but little interest in building out network capacity where it doesn't need to. The LTE in Rural America Program brings Verizon's LTE license and network technology together with the towers and backhaul from small rural carriers. The idea is to help these out of the way places set up 4G networks that Verizon can benefit from. That expanded coverage is also available to Verizon customers when they leave the big city behind.

The SCH-I545L is simply a phone that is deployed on those regional carriers that work with Verizon on the rural LTE initiative. It's nothing secret – it's just speculation season.

[Verizon, Samsung 1, Samsung 2]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • duke69111

    I wish US cellular would join the rural lte initiative in eastern Kansas. That would be awesome for me as a verizon customer.

    • andre08

      uscc is dying

      • duke69111

        Maybe so, but in eastern Kansas they provide service where my Verizon phone does not reach.

  • RaptorOO7

    AT&T is pushing to get OEM's to support smaller regional carriers LTE footprint so those carriers can also roam on AT&T's LTE network. Of course no time frame or details were really provided other than lip service.

  • not a spark

    Love how in the US they have LTE in rural areas here in Australia I barely get coverage in capital cities

  • John

    On an unrelated side note, I'm freaking loving my new S4 (vzw). Quite a solid device. Have root + I can deal with TouchWiz, as long as I use Nova for my Launcher, and there aren't too many other issues. Good upgrade from my gnexus.