MetroPCS’ push into LTE continued today as the carrier announced plans to launch a new smartphone compatible with the carrier’s high-speed data network. The ZTE Anthem is the first LTE device for the domestic market for ZTE.
MetroPCS said the device will include Qualcomm’s dual-core, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.3-inch touchscreen, HDMI output and run Google’s Android 2.3 operating system. The device is set to retail for $219 after a mail-in rebate.
MetroPCS’ management noted at an investor conference this week that it was approaching 1 million customers on its LTE network, representing about 10% of its customer base. The carrier also expects to expand its LTE device offering to six models by the end of the year, including Samsung’s Galaxy S3 model at the high end and a $100 model at the low end. There was no discussion of the carrier eventually offering Apple’s iPhone 5, which is set to launch this week with LTE support. MetroPCS rival Leap Wireless said it will begin offering the iPhone 5 Sept. 28.
The latest device launch also comes on the heels of a number of announcements this week from handset giants LG, Samsung and HTC, which all unveiled new smartphones destined for domestic LTE networks.
MetroPCS is anxious to get more consumers to sign up for its LTE network as that technology is more efficient than its legacy CDMA-based offering, which results in a lower cost to transmit data. MetroPCS is also looking to eventually expand its recently launched voice over LTE service that will also result in a lower cost to transmit voice communications. The carrier is also looking to re-farm some of its current spectrum holdings from its CDMA network to further bolster its LTE offering, which is currently limted to just a handful of megahertz in most markets.
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