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MetroPCS Chooses Navteq For Maps

The service will include point-of-interest searching and turn-by-turn navigation.

MetroPCS said it would be using Navteq for its mapping purposes, and this could be a signal that the prepaid provider is looking to provide location-based services in the near future.

The carrier is primarily known for its no-contract, unlimited calling plans that cost about $40 a month. It has been making moves to provide additional services, including landing its first BlackBerry. The Navteq partnership could help it launch more location-relevant services.

MetroPCS will use Navteq's digital maps for point-of-interest searching, routing functionality, and determining where a user is located. The carrier uses Navteq maps for its MetroNavigator services, which is a GPS-enabled application that can provide turn-by-turn driving directions and maps.

"As wireless location services are evolving, high-quality map data and content are becoming an increasingly essential value-add for consumers," Navteq VP George Filley said in a statement. "Navteq maps are an integral component to MetroPCS's services and we are pleased that they have put their trust in us as a preferred map provider."

Moving forward, MetroPCS said Navteq's accurate, rich, and relevant content can be the foundation for a slate of new location-based services. This effort could be boosted with a faster mobile broadband network, and MetroPCS said it would be rolling out 4G networks based on Long Term Evolution technology. MetroPCS has not given a firm date for deployment, but it will wait until after Verizon Wireless rolls out its LTE network.

Prepaid providers like MetroPCS, Cricket, Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile have seen a marked increase of subscribers during the global economic slowdown, and these companies are eyeing multiple strategies to maintain those customers. MetroPCS may be looking to integrate new location-based services, and others are introducing pink-slip protection plans or implementing low-priced unlimited plans that include text, mobile Web, and mobile e-mail.

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