Dallas - Prepaid carrier
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
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 Univision.
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 phones.
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.