MetroPCS boasts first U.S. LTE service, phone
On Tuesday, MetroPCS said it has become the first US carrier to launch commercial high-speed wireless Long Term Evolution (LTE) services and and an handset, beating its biggest rival Verizon Wireless to the post. LTE is a next-generation technology Verizon Wireless and AT&T plan to support.
Verizon has promised by the end of this year to offer LTE services for laptop users in 25 to 30 US markets with a population of about 100 million people. But the top US mobile provider has said that it does not expect to start selling its first LTE handsets until 2011.
However, the high-speed MetroPCS service is 0nly available in Las Vegas for now. The company’s Chief Operating Officer Tom Keys said he expects the service to reach most MetroPCS markets by the first quarter of 2011. MetroPCS also said it started selling its LTE phone, the Samsung Craft.
MetroPCS is offering the Samsung Craft for $299, after $50 instant rebate, plus tax. MetroPCS plans to launch another 3-5 handsets in the next 12 months, Keys said.
The executive said he sees the phone appealing to consumers “who want the next best thing and who are willing to pay a little more for the handset.”
“2012 will probably have a larger roadmap in terms of handsets for the entire LTE ecosystem,” said Keys, adding that the company is also considering offering tablet-like devices.
The company is offering 4G LTE services under two service plans – $55 or $60 a month. Its service plans include unlimited phone calls and do not require customers to sign a long-term contract.
MetroPCS said that ninety percent of its customers have been using its handsets for data services. More than half of them rely on MetroPCS handsets as their primary means to get online.
Photo: MetroPCS press materials