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MetroPCS Launches 4G LTE Android Phone

2/09/2011 08:05:00 AM Eastern
Dallas - Prepaid carrier MetroPCS will launch the industry's first LTE-based 4G smartphone this week, the Android 2.2-based Samsung Galaxy Indulge.

The handset will join the entertainment-oriented Samsung Craft feature phone in the carrier's 4G LTE lineup.

The Indulge, priced at a suggested $399 compared with the Craft's suggested $299, is a slider with slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard, 3.5-inch touchscreen, 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, 2GB of embedded memory, included 4GB memory card preloaded with the "Iron Man 2" movie, Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, Google Mobile services, stereo Bluetooth, 3-megapixel camera/camcorder with autofocus and 1500mAh battery. It is upgradable to Android 2.3.

The carrier plans to promote the handset in future TV and radio ads, said corporate marketing senior VP Phillip Terry without disclosing a timetable.

The phone will be sold with one of two prepaid flat-rate no-contract plans at $50 and $60 per month, including all taxes and fees. The $50 plans provides unlimited talk, unlimited U.S. and international texting, unlimited web access, and 1GB of 4G data used to access such services as Pandora and the company's MetroStudio service, which provides music and video streaming and access to extra-cost paid-for full-track song downloads with no digital-rights-management restrictions. Unlimited data is available via Wi-Fi.

The $60 plan adds unlimited MetroStudio access via 4G.

The phone delivers LTE data over the carrier's 1.9GHz and 1.7/2.1GHz bands, depending on the market. Voice calls go over the carrier's CDMA 1x network in those bands, depending on the market.

MetroPCS launched 4G LTE service last year and currently offers it in 13 of its 14 markets, with the 14th market, Tampa, expected to go online at the end of the first quarter.

Though MetroPCS operates its network in only 14 markets, subscribers can roam at no extra cost into markets with a total population of 280 million people.

Besides Tampa, the carrier's 14 markets include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco.

In the LTE markets, the Indulge will be available this week in the carrier's stores and in authorized cellular specialty stores, most of which are MetroPCS-branded and sell only MetroPCS service. MetroPCS is also talking to Best Buy Mobile, Walmart and Meijer to sell the phone. Those retailers are currently MetroPCS retailers.

The carrier does not distribute phones outside the 14 markets where its network operates.

The Indulge will be the carrier's third Android phone. The other two, which do not feature LTE, are the Huawei Ascend and LG Optimus M. The carrier also offers BlackBerry smartphones.

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