MetroPCS Communications opened its second 4G LTE market today, this one in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
The new service follows the carrier's initial 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) launch in Las Vegas last week. As in Vegas, the Dallas-Forth Worth service will offer prepaid monthly plans starting at $55, which include unlimited talk, text, and data, and require no contract.
But Dallas-Forth Worth customers will also get a few additional features. MetroStudio, available through the $60 monthly plan, will offer downloads and ringtones as well as video content from NBC Universal and other providers, MetroPCS said. A new combined social-networking and instant-messaging app will let people access their Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter accounts and IM from AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. Finally, an enhanced MetroNavigator feature will provide voice-activated GPS and turn-by-turn directions.
To tap into the 4G service, subscribers will need to buy MetroPCS' Samsung Craft LTE handset, which costs $299 after a $50 instant rebate, the company said.
Offering a 3.3-inch AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) touch screen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the phone includes a 3.2-megapixel camera with flash and camcorder and built-in Wi-Fi. As a special promotion, the Craft's 2GB MicroSD card will come pre-loaded with last year's "Star Trek" movie.
The Dallas-Forth Worth 4G LTE network will support most of MetroPCS' existing CDMA coverage area, according to the company. Looking ahead, MetroPCS said it will expand its 4G service into other markets later this year and in early 2011 and launch additional smartphones and 4G handsets to supplement the Craft.
Since the 4G service offered by MetroPCS uses LTE technology, it differs in some respects from the Wi-Max-based 4G service from Sprint Nextel and Clearwire, although the speeds are comparable. And even though MetroPCS will be expanding its customer base, its deployment is likely to remain small and limited in comparison with the 4G LTE rollouts planned by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.