MetroPCS: Cord Cutting & Video Snacking
The carrier launched the first Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the US today in Las Vegas. It is offering one $299 phone -- the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Craft -- and pay-as-you-go plans for $55 and $60 on the new network.
"I think the big key is going to be unlimited. Our customers get the opportunity to vote us off the island twelve times a year; we have to keep network quality up," Thomas Keys, COO of MetroPCS, tells LR Mobile.
The operator isn't expecting the network to stay limited to Las Vegas for too long either. "We hope to get a few more markets out in the next 30 to 60 days," Keys says. He isn't saying which cities yet but notes that the operator will launch LTE sequentially and in multiple markets as it is able to.
Users should expect to see cheaper phones and further devices in 2011 as well. "We'll have some mid-market devices in the first, maybe second quarter," Keys notes. "We've got Android coming out on some of the decks we’re looking at too."
Eventually the portfolio will expand with data dongles and other devices. "We haven't seen any LTE tablets yet though," Thomas adds.
Nonetheless, he expects that customers in Vegas may take up the contract-free and unlimited Samsung Craft to get the higher data speeds that LTE offers. "About 90 percent of our customers use data. That changeover started happening about three or four years ago," Thomas explains.
On the $60 LTE plan this will include "video snacking" as the operator is including clips from NBC Universal, BET and others in its bundle. Keys believes that video in general will be an important aspect of its LTE service.
The ability to have a mobile phone as their only phone may also be important to MetroPCS users. "We believe about 50 percent of our customers have cut the cord," Keys says.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile