MetroPCS getting serious about LTE upgrade

MetroPCS announced it would go for LTE 4G technology, it was tough to take them seriously. They were small players in a big boy’s game — at that point they didn’t even have a smartphone on the market. Yet a few months later, when Metro said they wanted LTE services in the next year, it was a bit more forcible. They added a good number of customers over the holiday season, had just launched networks in New York and Boston, and were ready with their first BlackBerry offering. Yesterday we got an update on their plans, including infrastructure and handset vendors for a 2010 LTE launch. On the infrastructure end, Sony Ericsson will take the helm. That’s the big part of the process, as it means upgrading Metro’s existing hardware to the LTE standard. I have no idea what goes into the process, but I can’t imagine it being easy. Considering Metro won’t roll this out until late 2010, I’m sure it’s quite involved. On the handset end, Samsung will develop a dual mode CDMA/LTE handset for the company. I’m not quite sure how this will operate — as in, not sure if it is dual mode to accommodate a network which will roll out slowly, or if it needs the CDMA to make voice calls. LTE is a data standard, and one issue with it is the ability to make voice calls. All this has come as somewhat of a surprise, as AT&T hasn’t even gone this far in its LTE announcements. Metro seems eager to get out in front of this new technology, and we should see them as the second LTE carrier in the country. Verizon aims to launch in multiple markets to kick off 2010.]]>

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