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Carriers Adding More Affordable LTE Phones

New York – Carriers AT&T and Verizon and MVNO Consumer Cellular focused on affordable smartphones in their latest product launches.

AT&T plans Oct 10 availability in its stores of the Moto G LTE at only $179 without contract, or $7.50/month on the Next18 installment/trade-up payment plan and $9/month on the Next12 plan.

Verizon today began offering the LTE-equipped HTC Desire 612 through its online store on an exclusive basis. The price is free with two-year contract or $299 without. On the installment plan, the phone costs $14.99/month for 20 months.

For its part, MVNO Consumer Cellular has begun rolling out its largest scree smartphone to date, the LTE-equipped Huawei Ascend Mate 2 with 6.1-inch 1280×720 display at $250. The company is also rolling out Huawei’s 3G Vision 2 with 4-inch screen at $100.

The introductions coincide with HTC’s unveiling yesterday of the LTE-equipped selfie-optimized Desire Eye phone with 5.2-inch 1080p display and two 13-megapixel cameras. It will be launched soon exclusively through AT&T.

The smartphone growth area in the U.S. has been in “value devices,” said Nigel Newby-House, executive director of HTC’s North American product strategy and planning.

Here’s what AT&T, Verizon and Consumer Cellular are offering:

AT&T: The carrier positions the Moto G LTE as “a budget-friendly smartphone for people who don’t want to compromise on quality, style, or experiences.”

Unveiled earlier this year by Motorola, the phone features Android 4.4, quad-core 1.2GHz CPU,  8GB embedded memory,  1280 by 720 HD 4.5-inch display with 329 ppi, 2070 mAh battery, 5-megapixel image capture at 4:3 and 3.8-megapixel capture at 16:9, LED flash, 4x digital zoom, slow-motion video, burst mode, auto HDR, panorama mode, tap-to-focus capability, 1.3-megapixel front camera, 720p 30fps HD video capture on front and back cameras, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS.

Consumer Cellular: The MVNO, which targets the over-50 crowd with no-contract postpaid plans, is launching two Huawei Android smartphones, both with an Easy Mode, described as an intuitive interface option “to make adoption easier for new smartphone users.”

The $250 LTE-equipped Huawei Ascend Mate 2 features 6.1-inch 1280×720 display, 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 13- and 5-megapixel cameras, Android 4.3 OS, 1080p video capture, and 16GB embedded memory.

The $100 Huawei Vision features 3G HSPA+, 4-inch 800×480 display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel camera with 720p video capture, and Android 4.3 OS.

Easy Mode offers a simpler user interface compared to the standard Android OS, enabling users to scroll between windows, access apps quickly and customize the home screen. Once they get comfortable with Easy Mode, customers can opt to choose the standard Android UI, the MVNO said.

Verizon: The HTC Desire 612, positioned as offering premium-device features, is equipped with XLTE capability, enabling it to operate in LTE mode in Verizon’s 700MHz and AWS bands. The Android 4.4 KitKat phones comes with 4.7-inch qHD 540×960 display with 234ppi, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, 128GB microSD card slot, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac. Other features include 25GB of Verizon cloud storage with a More Everything plan, 2040mAh battery, dual Boom Sound speakers, 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p capture, and 1.3-megapixel front camera with 720p capture. It also features HTC’s BlinkFeed news and social-media content-aggregation service and Zoe, which automatically stitches together pictures and videos in highlight reels with background music.

Customers on The MORE Everything plan get NFL Mobile for the 2014/2015 NFL season, including access to live streaming games and NFL Network 24/7, at no cost.