— 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 and Dallas/ Fort Worth launches of the Samsung Craft feature phone.
The phone, priced at $299 after $50 instant rebate, is available “while supplies last” through MetroPCS stores in the metro areas and through the carrier’s web site.
The LTE network covers most of the carrier’s existing CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. 0 footprint in the two markets, 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 most of 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 ringback 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 WVGA capacitive touchscreen and slide-from-theside 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 Wi-Fi, A/V playback, upgraded MetroNavigator service that adds voiceactivated 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.