Metro PCS has followed up on its promise - and beaten far bigger rivals in the process - to launch its 4G LTE network in the US, but it's chosen a less than exciting handset to mark the occasion. $55 per month gets you unlimited, contract-free LTE access in Metro PCS' single initial market - Las Vegas - though you'll also need to shell out $299 (after a $50 rebate) for the Samsung Craft.
The Craft is a featurephone, with a 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera, WiFi, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and Samsung's TouchWiz UI. Metro PCS also throw in a copy of Star Trek on the bundled 2GB microSD card. When you're outside of LTE coverage (which, unless you live in Vegas, is likely to be most of the time) it falls back onto CDMA networks.
Metro PCS also have a $60 per month service, which throws in MetroStudio access, an audio/video download store powered by RealNetworks. More importantly, they say they'll be concentrating on broadening 4G coverage over Q4 2010 and into 2011, though there's no specific rollout schedule at present.
MetroPCS Launches First 4G LTE Services in the United States and Unveils World’s First Commercially Available 4G LTE Phone
World’s First Commercially Available LTE Handset Allows Consumers to Do More with Entertainmentand Provides a Faster Web Experience
DALLAS – (Sept. 21, 2010) – Today, MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCS) became the first mobile operator to launch commercial 4G LTE services in the United States, offering talk, text and 4G Web access starting as low as $55 per month including taxes and regulatory fees. MetroPCS is also offering the world’s first commercially available 4G LTE enabled handset, the Samsung Craft™. Service will initially be available in Las Vegas, Nev., with service expanding into the remaining MetroPCS cities throughout the year.
As the pioneer of the unlimited, no-annual-contract, flat-rate wireless services space, MetroPCS is once again leading the industry as the only no-annual-contract operator to offer 4G LTE services. With a state-of-the-art 4G LTE network in Las Vegas and the world’s first commercially available 4G LTE handset, MetroPCS continues to provide compelling value to consumers while meeting their growing demands to do more with multimedia and entertainment applications.
“The Internet is going mobile, and we are placing the true power of the Internet directly in our customers’ hands, when and where they need it. By offering affordable, predictable and flexible 4G services on a no-contract basis, MetroPCS delivers immediate benefits to our customers and is positioned to meet their evolving needs well into the future,” said Roger D. Linquist, president, CEO and chairman of MetroPCS. “We are delivering a 4G LTE service that is unmatched in value and positions MetroPCS as a full-service broadband wireless provider – a giant step for our business.”
Consumers will be able to experience 4G LTE services by selecting one of two service plans – $55 or $60 – designed for value-conscious consumers. In addition to offering talk, text and a faster 4G Web experience initially on an unlimited basis, MetroPCS is introducing many new applications and features that take advantage of its 4G LTE network, including:
MetroSTUDIOSM, powered by RealNetworks, is available on the $60 service plan. MetroSTUDIO is a new source of multimedia content, including access to full-track downloads, ringtones and ring-back tones, as well as premium video content from NBC Universal, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Univision, available on-demand and on-the-go from one easy-to-use application.
A new social networking and instant messaging aggregation application, which harnesses notifications, friends and content from the Facebook, MySpace and Twitter social networks and AIM, MSN and Yahoo! IM clients into a single interface that consumers can access with one click.
Upgraded MetroNavigator® feature with the addition of voice-activated GPS and turn-by-turn directions.
MetroPCS is initially offering the Samsung Craft in Las Vegas metropolitan area stores and online for $299, after $50 instant rebate, plus tax, while supplies last. As the world’s first commercially available multi-mode 4G LTE/CDMA handset, the Samsung Craft was created with Web and multimedia content in mind, delivering a stunning visual experience.
The device offers:
Incredible clarity and rich color for viewing crystal-clear multimedia and video images with its 3.3 inch AMOLED (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) screen.
A 2GB microSD card preloaded with Paramount Pictures’ hit movie “Star Trek.”
A combination touch screen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and Samsung’s TouchWiz™ user interface to surf and text message with whichever input format users prefer.
A 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and camcorder to capture images that can be shared while on the go on MetroPCS’ fast 4G network.
“We continue to see our customers use mobile data services, and the majority of them rely on their handset as their primary access to the Web,” said Tom Keys, chief operating officer of MetroPCS. “Our 4G service, the Samsung Craft and applications like MetroSTUDIO deliver exactly what our customers demand: more of the entertainment they love, a desktop-like Web experience and the ability to do more and share more of their content such as text, photos and videos with friends and family.”
MetroPCS’ Las Vegas 4G LTE network, which was built through a partnership with Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), will cover the majority of MetroPCS’ existing CDMA network footprint in Las Vegas. 4G LTE network rollouts in the remaining MetroPCS markets are planned for later this year and early 2011. MetroPCS plans to further expand 4G LTE coverage in 2011, along with the launch of additional devices to increase MetroPCS’ portfolio of feature phones, touch screens, smartphones and 4G handsets.