I almost brought a smartphone from China. But they don't have Black Friday.
The latest 4G phones are free. iPhone 4S is not free, but it's not 4G either.
Basically the latest spec, very new across all the major carriers, are qHD phones with 960 x 5??, slight less pixels than iPhone's 960x640. These Androids are pretty standard sized at less than 5" in height vs apple's 4.5". The iPhone won't fit in any women's pocket anyway. Bigger screen allows easier touch tying - keys are bigger!
8MP camera with 1080p HD video capture. Front camera 640x480(?) VGA video conference.
Android 2.3 has multi-touch, while iPhone haven't. Some brands announced that they will upgrade your phone to Android 4 pretty soon.
4G for AT&T is available in the form of LTE. It's symbolic as at the moment as even 3.5G HSPA isn't that widely available. For this reason the iPhone don't have LTE yet. LTE should be the world standard following GSM/WCDMA. But because of frequency fragmentation across the world, I doubt if the current LTE phones will work all over the world with it roll outs extensively throughout the world.
The mandatory entry level data plans are symbolic. You can't do anything smart with that. But the expensive plans more than offset by the free toys. If you don't have a pocket sized 1080p camcorder yet, you save yourself another $100. When the time comes to impress somebody with 4G speed, you can just run over the limit and pay extra for once.
Verizon and Sprint split on 4G. Verison offers LTE while Sprint has WiMax. Maybe the reason is that Sprint is on the PCS band while Verizon is on the traditional mobile band.
There are no generic qHD phones from China yet. Data at best is HSPA (HSDPA, HSUPA). And I doubt if the LTE phones they may offer at a later date will work well in both Europe and America.
Of course, you need a plan and a 2 year contract for the awesome free phones. But I can tip you off with a small secret. Third part credit checks are less dirty than carriers' own. Carrier's share non-public blacklist database, while you know what is on your credit history. So walking into a carrier's own wireless shop is the worst that you can do if your credit have problems. Third party wireless shops are better. Online check is best. They have to be automatic and in the open. So try Amazon wireless if you need to.