The Dallas service, which the firm said would overlay the majority of its existing CDMA network footprint in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, is offered with Samsung's Craft smartphone. Samsung Telecommunications America is also located in metropolitan Dallas.
MetroPCS said the LTE service plans will be priced at $55 or $60 a month, which includes voice calls, texting, and a "4G web experience initially on an unlimited basis." Samsung's Craft handset, which includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a 3.2 megapixel camera, is available for $299. The Craft also has Wi-Fi capability and an AMOLED screen.
"MetroPCS will continue to expand 4G LTE network coverage into all of our markets through 2011," said Roger D. Linquist, MetroPCS president, CEO, and chairman, in a statement. "The launch of our 4G LTE network in the metroplex is yet another milestone in our expansion and our vision of the Internet."
In announcing the LTE service, the prepaid provider upstaged Verizon Wireless, the country's largest mobile phone provider by number of subscribers. The Verizon unit, which is owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, will be introducing its LTE service in several U.S. cities later this year and, when it does, subscribers won't be able to make calls on their consumer devices. Verizon plans to begin its service with data cards and USB modems; handsets with voice calling capability aren't scheduled to arrive until next year.
The United States is trailing many countries in launching LTE. For instance, Scandinavian carrier TeliaSonera launched its LTE service last year in Sweden and Norway.
MetroPCS and Samsung have packed their service and phone with several advanced features. MetroSTUDIO, available on the $60 plan, has full-track downloads, ringtones, and premium video from various services. Social networking apps including Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter can be aggregated with AIM, MSN, and Yahoo instant messaging clients. The MetroPCS service also includes GPS navigation applications.