LTE Starts Here

4:30 PM -- The Long-Term Evolution (LTE) era has started in the US with MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS)'s launch of the mobile broadband technology in Las Vegas.

While the news is definitely good for the operator and its network and device partner, Samsung Corp. , and is likely to be the start of a flood of "4G" announcements throughout the rest of the year. I still have to ask, however, is there going to be a significant difference between the latest generation of 3G services and the very early LTE networks.

Don't get me wrong, MetroPCS needed to move to LTE on its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum. The move to unlimited, pay-as-you-go data on LTE will give MetroPCS a snap, crackle, and pop as it sells services against larger rivals, particularly as the operator didn't really have any 3G to speak of.

The point is that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US Inc. are launching multi-megabit 3G in many cities across the US. Its going to be interesting to see how MetroPCS, and later Verizon Wireless , market "4G" against these 3G services that appear to give the first generation of LTE in the US a run for its money.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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