updated 02:55 pm EDT, Mon August 11, 2008
MetroPCS to Use LTE for 4G
MetroPCS will use the same fourth-generation (4G) cellular data access as larger carriers, the company has revealed while discussing its latest quarterly results. Though small, the provider says it will switch its network from its existing CDMA format to the same Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard that will be used by AT&T, Verizon and the latter's recent buyout target Alltel.
MetroPCS doesn't provide a timetable for the expansion, although its larger competitors all expect to have commercially available service sometime in 2010. The company is taking a "wait and see" approach before committing to its plans, chief executive Roger Linquist says, though he also suggests there will be "interesting developments" within six to twelve months.
He also explains that the 4G move is aimed not just at faster data transfer speeds but also to increase the headroom for the overall network. The service, which tops 100Mbps for downloads in ideal conditions, would provide MetroPCS with more headroom for supporting more customers than its existing network.
An upgrade to LTE would step up competition in MetroPCS' service areas, as it would allow AT&T and Verizon customers to switch to the smaller carrier's unlimited services without having to swap phones. It would also permit roaming for MetroPCS subscribers both in AT&T-only coverage areas and in locations such as Europe and Japan, where CDMA doesn't operate.