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MetroPCS offers a basic phone selection, but its service plans come with few restrictions.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read
Metro PCS

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Serving 6 million customers in select markets in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and California, Dallas-based MetroPCS is a CDMA carrier that offers unlimited minutes as a feature of all its calling plans. Also, it doesn't require a contract from any customer, and it doesn't place restrictions on the time of day you call. Yet there is a trade-off, as many basic services like voice mail and caller ID can cost extra. Like other regional carriers, MetroPCS coverage roams onto other carrier networks outside its home area. Its handset roster tends toward no-frills models, but it does offer smartphone and touchscreen handsets. Available features include e-mail, messaging, wireless Internet, 3G, push-to-talk and a mobile mapping service from MapQuest.

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Things you should know:

  • As a CDMA carrier international coverage is limited.
  • Most plans include free long distance and unlimited text messaging.
  • There is no activation fee and the first month of service is free for all customers.
  • Unlimited directory assistance is available for en extra fee.
  • Carries mostly Motorola phones but also includes select models from Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, UTStarcom and Kyocera.
  • Because MetroPCS does not require contracts its phones are more expensive than with other carriers.
  • Roaming outside the carrier's native coverage area may cost extra but you can buy prepaid roaming minutes at a discount with the TravelTalk program.
  • Not all plans include free voicemail, call waiting or caller ID. Also, other services like 3-way calling and call forwarding are extra depending on the plan.
  • The MetroWeb service offers unlimited wireless Web access for a flat monthly fee.

Fast facts:

  • Subscribers: 6 million
  • Coverage: Metro PCS' native coverage is limited to urban areas in five states. As with all carriers, reception will vary due to location.
  • Technology: CDMA; 1xRTT
  • 3G network: Yes, EV-DO
  • Streaming video service: No
  • Music download service: No
  • Push-to-talk: Yes
  • Prepaid plans: No
  • Family plans: No