Report: MetroPCS launching LTE service next month

MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) will launch its commercial LTE service in Dallas and Las Vegas sometime in September, according to a Samsung executive.

Jaebeom Choi, vice president of systems research and development for Samsung, told Dow Jones Newswires that the flat-rate, regional carrier is nearing its launch. Samsung is providing the network equipment for the network in Las Vegas, a  MetroPCS spokesman confirmed to FierceWireless, and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) is providing the equipment in Dallas. The MetroPCS spokesman also implied there will be additional LTE markets, though he did not provide any details. Samsung is going to provide the carrier's first LTE phone, which MetroPCS is calling the Craft.

The MetroPCS spokesman declined to comment on Choi's statement about the timing of the carrier's network launch, and told FierceWireless that the company is still on track for an LTE deployment later this year. MetroPCS disclosed earlier this month that Dallas-Ft. Worth will be one of its LTE markets. The carrier is launching LTE service on its AWS spectrum, and MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist also said earlier this month that, at some point in the future, the company will migrate its CDMA voice customers to VoIP technology working over LTE, explaining such a move will provide substantial, additional capacity.

Pictures of the Craft began leaking out recently, and the device is rumored to have a touchscreen display, Qwerty keyboard and 3.2-megapixel camera. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is launching LTE service in 25-30 commercial markets in the fourth quarter, covering 100 million POPs. Verizon has said it expects its first LTE phones to be available by the middle of next year. 

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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