MetroPCS continued its staggered Long-Term Evolution (LTE) rollout across the United States Wednesday as it announced the expansion of its service into the Boston, New York City, and Sacramento markets.
The prepaid service, available on Samsung Craft mobile phones, more or less follows the existing footprint of its CDMA network, which covers broad areas around MetroPCS' 14 core markets in major metropolitan areas.
MetroPCS began offering the service in a few selected cities in September, beating Verizon Wireless to market with the high-speed 4G technology. Earlier this month, the Verizon unit launched its LTE service in 38 U.S. markets. Neither company's LTE network offers voice capability, although calling features are expected for both next year on a new generation of LTE handsets.
MetroPCS' strategy is built primarily around a plan to offer the service to its existing CDMA customers who want a multimedia entertainment experience. The phone also offers ample opportunity for Web browsing and e-mailing.
"By offering customers the ability to do more with easy access to their social networks, exclusive MetroSTUDIO content, and expanded Web browsing capabilities, we are giving our customers what they need," said Roger D. Linquist, president, CEO, and chairman of MetroPCS, in a statement. MetroSTUDIO, available on a $60 prepaid service plan, features ringtones, ringback tones, and video content from a variety of TV and entertainment providers.
In an interview, a MetroPCS spokesman said the LTE service covers about 80% to 85% of the company's existing CDMA footprint. "It's really designed to reach our existing customers," he said. "They told us they wanted (expanded) entertainment access. We also know that the majority of our customers use MetroPCS as their primary Web access point so that's also available."
The basic prepaid LTE service plan is available for $55 a month. The Samsung Craft is available in MetroPCS stores or online for $299 plus tax after a $50 instant rebate.
The firm's next cities scheduled for LTE deployment include Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. The service is already offered in nine metropolitan areas including Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
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