The FCC approved what is likely the first LTE handset for the U.S. market, a Samsung-made phone that appears destined for MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS). The phone sports LTE capabilities in the 1700 and 1900 MHz bands, where MetroPCS likely will launch LTE later this year.
The flat-rate carrier said in March that it will launch LTE services in Las Vegas and other, unnamed markets sometime in the second half of this year, and will provide those services to consumers via devices including the Samsung SCH-r900, a CDMA/LTE handset. The device identified in the FCC documents is the SCH-r900. Little is known about the phone except that it has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, and judging by a photo accompanying the documents it has a similar shape to the Palm Pre.
MetroPCS will provide LTE service on a prepaid basis without device subsidies. Samsung is also providing network equipment for MetroPCS' LTE rollout.
In other LTE device news, photos have leaked on the blog Boy Genius Report of an LG-made LTE dongle for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). Verizon has previously indicated that its first LTE devices will be dongles, and that handsets will be coming to market next spring. A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment. Verizon plans to launch 25-30 commercial LTE markets in the fourth quarter, and rumors have pegged Nov. 15 as a potential launch date.
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