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Smart PCS launches local unlimited calling with ZTE kit: Chinese vendor assists no-contract wireless provider with network, handset equipment

A new carrier is set to enter the competitive no-contract, unlimited calling market, this time with some help from the Chinese.
Smart PCS is stepping into the fray with service in parts of northwest Georgia and Tennessee. Similar to offerings from segment stalwarts Leap Wireless International Inc. and MetroPCS Communications Inc., Smart PCS is relying on a CDMA2000 1x-based network to support its unlimited offering. The network equipment is supplied by emerging Chinese infrastructure provider ZTE USA Inc., which also claims it will provide its C88 handset, though the device does not yet appear on the carrier’s Web site.
“As a new carrier launching its service for the first time, we needed a vendor partner that would offer us mature, state-of-the-art equipment and devices, but at an affordable price point,” said Anthony Ortolani, President and CEO of Smart PCS.
Smart PCS’ Web site includes handsets ranging from $30 to $350 and shows four service plans priced at $25, $35, $45 and $55 per month. Smart PCS has a roaming agreement with Leap allowing Smart PCS customers to roam on Leap’s network when outside their home network.
In 2006 ZTE won a similar contract with regional operator ClearTalk, which had previously signed a deal with fellow Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for network equipment.

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