MetroPCS LTE Net May Launch in September
Las Vegas and Fort Worth, Texas, could be the first cities in the US to get proto-4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service, as reports today say MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) will launch its LTE network in September.
The Wall Street Journal and Asian media reports both quote Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) on that launch timeframe. Samsung is supplying the infrastructure and a dualmode LTE smartphone for the carrier's network. (See Samsung Looking for Android-on-LTE Expertise and MetroPCS Gears Up for LTE.)
A September launch would likely put MetroPCS ahead of Verizon Wireless , which has promised LTE to as many as 30 cities by the end of the year and is expected to start services in November. (See Verizon Breathing Down Sprint's 4G Neck.)
Beyond saying it's starting in Vegas and Fort Worth, MetroPCS hasn't revealed much about its deployment roadmap. The operator is, however, expected to have a Samsung LTE smartphone available in September. Verizon says it will launch its LTE with data cards and dongles and plans to have smartphones in the first half of 2011.
Prices for LTE services could be different, too. MetroPCS and Verizon executives have intimated that they believe the consumer will pay a premium over 3G for LTE.
Not too specifically, MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist has said that LTE rates will be "north of what we have today, but not very far north of what we have today." The carrier now offers monthly plans between $40 and $60 with additional social networking and music bundles at $5 a pop.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile