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MetroPCS expands LTE service to San Francisco

The Bay Area is the sixth market for the prepaid carrier's LTE 4G service. And though it offers only one LTE phone, MetroPCS competes aggressively on plan pricing.

Verizon Wireless grabbed headlines with its LTE announcement today, but MetroPCS always will be able to claim the first commercially available LTE in the United States. And today it expanded that coverage to CNET's hometown of San Francisco.

The "4G" service, which launches today, will overlay about 80 percent of the carrier's existing CDMA footprint in the Bay Area. Indeed, a quick check of MetroPCS's map shows the carrier's LTE coverage stretching from Santa Rosa to southern Santa Clara County with extensions eastward to Livermore, Fairfield, and Antioch.

San Fransisco is the carrier's sixth LTE market after Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Moving forward, MetroPCS will continue expansion later this year and early next year to Atlanta, Boston, Jacksonville, Miami, New York, Orlando, Sacramento, and Tampa.

Though MetroPCS currently offers only one LTE phone, the Samsung Craft, it competes aggressively on plan pricing. Its no-contract Premium 4G plan, for example, delivers unlimited voice, text, and data for $60 per month including taxes and regulatory fees. In comparison, Sprint's cheapest "Simply Everything" plan with WiMax service is $80 per month and Verizon Wireless announced today that its LTE plans will start at $50 per month for 5GB of data.