MetroPCS launches first LTE smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Indulge

Flat-rate carrier MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) said it will launch its first LTE smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Indulge--once again beating larger LTE rival Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) to the punch on an LTE milestone.   

Click here for pictures and specs of the samsung galaxy s indulge for metropcs lteMetroPCS, which currently offers LTE service in 13 markets, said the Galaxy Indulge will be available this week for $399 plus taxes. The device runs version 2.2. of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform and features a 1 GHz processor, 3-megapixel camera, full Qwerty keyboard and a memory card slot capable of holding up to 32 GB. The phone will come pre-loaded with a 4 GB microSD card with the film "Iron Man 2."

Verizon Wireless announced a range of LTE smartphones during the Consumer Electronics Show last month, but hasn't yet begun selling any of the devices. Verizon currently offers LTE service via a pair of USB sticks.

MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist said in November that the company expects to launch at least six LTE handsets in 2011. Linquist said 8 Mbps LTE speeds are possible in ideal conditions, but noted speeds could drop to 2 Mbps indoors or in other poor-signal conditions. Interestingly, MetroPCS also hopes to save money by moving voice calls off its CDMA network and onto LTE using Voice over LTE technology.

"We'll be testing VoLTE platforms in the middle of the year and commercializing some number of handsets with VoLTE once the standard is solidified,"  Tony Lau, MetroPCS' director of handset product management, told Forbes in an interview.

For its part, Verizon indicated it will demonstrate VoLTE at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, next week, and plans to commercially launch the service in 2012.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Forbes article
- see this Engadget post

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