MetroPCS promises first LTE network and handset

MetroPCS says it will bring the LTE-equipped Samsung SCH-R900 to Las Vegas and other markets later in 2010.

LAS VEGAS--MetroPCS leaped ahead two of its larger rivals today when it announced that it would introduce 4G LTE networks in the second half of this year. The network, which will come first to Las Vegas, will run on a Samsung-powered infrastructure. Sammy also will provide Metro PCS's first LTE phone, the SCH-r900.

Samsung didn't reveal any details about the SCH-r900, but we know that it will run support CDMA and LTE. Metro PCS's remains light on smartphones so we don't expect the SCH-r900 to go that route. Previous Metro PCS Samsung handsets include the touch-screen Finesse (SCH-r810) and the keyboard-equipped Messager.

The announcement puts MetroPCS ahead of AT&T and T-Mobile in 4G deployment. AT&T is not expected to introduce LTE until next year, and T-Mobile is still building out its 3G network. Verizon, on the other hand, will introduce 25 to 30 LTE markets this year, whereas Sprint introduced its first 4G cell phone at CTIA and announced additional WiMax markets.

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