US cellco MetroPCS has announced that it has switched on its 4G wireless network in Las Vegas this week, cementing its place as the first mobile operator to launch commercial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the United States. MetroPCS’ new network, which was built through a partnership with Samsung Mobile, will cover the majority of the cellco’s existing CDMA network footprint in Las Vegas. 4G network rollouts in MetroPCS’ other markets are planned for 4Q10, and early 2011. Samsung also announced that its ‘Craft’ LTE/CDMA handset which launched over the MetroPCS Las Vegas network is the first commercially available LTE handset in the world. The QWERTY slider-design device will cost users USD299. Previous LTE commercial launches, such as TeliaSonera’s 4G networks in Scandinavia, have so far featured modem-only services.
Roger D. Lindquist, CEO of MetroPCS commented: ‘The internet is going mobile, and we are placing the true power of the internet directly in our customers’ hands, when and where they need it. By offering affordable, predictable and flexible 4G services on a no-contract basis, MetroPCS delivers immediate benefits to our customers and is positioned to meet their evolving needs well into the future. We are delivering a 4G LTE service that is unmatched in value and positions MetroPCS as a full-service broadband wireless provider – a giant step for our business’.