- Prepaid carrier MetroPCS
became the first carrier in the world to launch a hybrid 3G/4G handset based on
the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard with the Las Vegas launch of the Samsung
Craft feature phone.
The phone, priced at $299 after $50 instant
rebate, is available "while supplies last" through MetroPCS stores in Las Vegas
and through the carrier's web site.
The Las Vegas LTE network will cover most of
the carrier's existing CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. 0 footprint in that market, the
carrier said. LTE network rollouts in the remaining MetroPCS markets are
planned for later this year and early 2011, with additional 4G handsets to
come. MetroPCS said it plans to
launch 4G service in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, New York, Sacramento,
San Francisco, and North, South and Central Florida.
The Craft feature phone is available with one
of two 4G LTE service plans at $55 and $60, with the latter including a bundled
MetroStudio service. The service, powered by RealNetworks, delivers downloads
of full-track songs, ringtones and ring-back tones as well as premium on-demand
streaming video from NBC Universal, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and
The phone is equipped with 3.3-inch AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting
diode) WVGA capacitive
touchscreen and slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard. Voice calls travel over
the carrier's 1.9GHz CDMA network, and data travels over its 1.7/2.1GHz
AWS-band network. The phone does not provide simultaneous 3G voice calls and 4G
data sessions, the carrier said.
Other features include WiFi, A/V playback,
upgraded MetroNavigator service that adds voice-activated turn-by-turn
directions, a 2GB microSD card preloaded with Paramount Pictures' movie "Star
Trek," Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, a 3.2-megapixel camera with flash and
camcorder, and Bluetooth stereo.
A new social networking and instant messaging
app aggregates notifications, friends and content from the Facebook, MySpace
and Twitter social networks as well as AIM, MSN and Yahoo! IM service into a
single interface. Users can also upload video to social-netroeking sites.
The 2.2 by 4.5 by 0.47-inch,
3.74-ounce phone is not a member of Samsung's Galaxy S family of flagship
For its part, Verizon Wireless
has said it plans to launch LTE service commercially in 25 to 30 markets in the
fourth quarter with a population of 100 million people. The carrier said it expects
to offer its first LTE phones by mid-2011.