MetroPCS launches $149 Huawei Activa, its cheapest LTE phone yet

MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) said it will launch its fifth LTE handset, the Huawei Activa 4G, for $149 with a mail-in rebate, making the device its cheapest LTE smartphone yet. The gadget, which is also Huawei's first LTE phone for the U.S. market, is part of MetroPCS' push to drive the price of its LTE smartphones down this year.

Huawei Activa 4G MetroPCS LTE

Huawei Activa 4G

The gadget runs version 2.3, or Gingerbread, of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform and sports an 800 MHz processor, 3.5-inch HVGA  touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera with single LED flash and a front-facing VGA camera. The device is powered by GCT's GDM7240 single-chip 4G LTE solution.

The device is by far MetroPCS' cheapest LTE phone; the next cheapest is the LG Connect 4G for $249, which has a 1.2 GHz processor and 4-inch screen but also runs on Android 2.3. MetroPCS executives have said that they will begin selling more LTE smartphones later this year at retail prices of $99 to $149. The executives have said that achieving these price points will be crucial to driving greater adoption of LTE, which will allow MetroPCS to refarm some of its spectrum. At the end of the first quarter MetroPCS said it has 580,000 LTE subscribers, or around 6 percent of its subscriber base.  

Last month MetroPCS executives said the company expects to cover between 102 million and 104 million POPs with its LTE network by the end of the third quarter, when it finishes its network buildout. The carrier is also bringing in a new handset supplier, Chinese vendor Yulong, to help it offer inexpensive LTE smartphones. LG and Samsung are also expected to provide LTE smartphones for MetroPCS later this year.

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