Betting on the wrong wireless technology (WiMax, anyone?) has caused Sprint’s 4G LTE deployment to lag behind its rivals – especially Verizon, which has now covered 75% of the U.S. population with its LTE network, across over 370 markets. Despite the disadvantage, Sprint announced that it has so far sold more than 1 million LTE-equipped devices, with the Galaxy S3 and EVO 4G being the two most popular handsets.

The news was delivered by Sprint CEO Dan Hesse during the Goldman Sachs 21st Annual Communacopia Conference in Santa Monica. Hesse explained that customers were drawn by the more attractive unlimited data plans that Sprint offers. And given that the launch of the iPhone 5 is just around the corner, the total should receive a nice bump by the end of the year.

Going by the numbers, Sprint’s 4G LTE service has only gone live in about 20 markets. While the carrier is planning to wrap-up its 4G LTE expansion by 2013, as part of Sprint’s Network Vision project, this year’s goal is to make its 4G LTE network accessible to 123 million POPs. This should be doable if Sprint realized its grand plan of bringing its 4G LTE network to more than 100 cities in the coming months.

One platform that Sprint can’t count on to boost its number is Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, or at least for now. If you’re wondering what the CEO thinks about Windows Phone, Hesse said that he wants to see three main players in the market – and Microsoft has the potential to be one. But only “time will tell” whether that’s going to happen.