LTE comes to Dallas

MetroPCS is on a roll, as the small wireless carrier has launched 4G LTE services in its second market in less than two weeks.

LTE vs. WiMAX

With its commercial launch in the Dallas-Forth Worth area today and its launch in Las Vegas last week, MetroPCS has staked out two major markets as the first in the United States to have access to LTE services. LTE is a fourth-generation wireless data standard in the GSM wireless family that has also been adopted by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the United States.

Just like in Las Vegas, MetroPCS is offering customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area a no-contract LTE plan starting at $55 a month. The LTE launches of the past two weeks have coincided with the release of Samsung's Craft handset, which will be the first LTE-capable phone offered in the U.S. The Federal Communications Commission first approved the Craft for use in the United States this past summer on spectrum bands owned by MetroPCS. From a specifications perspective, the Craft has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a 3.3-inch touchscreen display, as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G EV-DO Rev. A connectivity. Samsung is selling the device for $299 with no contract.

MetroPCS says it will continue launching LTE services in cities around the country throughout both this year and 2011. Among the major carriers, Verizon will be the first to offer LTE services, as it will have its LTE network up and running in as many as 30 major markets with many more to come in 2011. AT&T and T-Mobile are planning to follow Verizon with commercial LTE launches of their own in 2011.

MetroPCS is a relatively small carrier from a national perspective, as its roughly 8 million subscribers are dwarfed by both Verizon and AT&T, which each boast in excess of 90 million subscribers nationwide. The carrier specializes in prepaid wireless voice and data services that offer users less costly alternatives to contract-based postpaid services.

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