Just hours ahead of the Let’s talk iPhone event at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, the Wall Street Journal taps the people familiar with the company’s plans who claim the device “won’t operate on long-term evolution or WiMAX fourth-generation networks”, adding:

The people said the device will work on 3G networks, which are broadly in use today and are the standard for the current iPhone 4. AT&T says its HSPA+ network has 4G-like speeds.

The story also confirms a Wall Street Journal report from yesterday claiming Sprint pledged to a cool $20 billion in iPhone orders in the next four years. “Sprint Nextel is expected to join AT&T and Verizon Wireless in offering the device later this month, though T-Mobile has said it isn’t signed on yet with Apple”, writes author Greg Bensinger. Additionally, the Journal’s blog post has essentially debunked a BGR story from yesterday which speculated Apple Sprint would allegedly get an exclusive on iPhone 5, described as a 4G WiMAX phone.

Needless to say, seasoned watchers were having a hard time believing that rumor. Indeed, it really doesn’t make sense for Apple to screw Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which combined activated 4.9 million iPhones in the second quarter, and instead debut a redesigned iPhone 5 exclusively on the nation’s #3 wireless network.

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