LTE launches in the US as MetroPCS lights up its 4G service in Las Vegas

metroPCS LTE data plans

metroPCS LTE data plans

LTE has arrived in the US courtesy of regional carrier MetroPCS. Beating out its larger rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS is now offering its 4G service in the Las Vegas metropolitan region. The Las Vegas network is built upon network hardware from Samsung and the Samsung Craft will be the carrier’s and the industry’s first LTE handset.

MetroPCS will offer two plans at launch including a $60 monthly 4G premium plan which includes unlimited calling, unlimited texts, unlimited 4G data, and access to MetroPCS’ MetroStudio package which includes access to 14 television channels. The basic 4G plan will set you back $55 per month and will include unlimited calling, unlimited texts, and unlimited 4G data.

For now, MetroPCS is not offering any LTE USB devices and tethering is not supported on either plan. Interested customers can purchase the Samsung Craft and sign up for an LTE plan both online and in stores within Las Vegas. As always, MetroPCS handsets are available without a contract, without a credit check and without a cumbersome termination fee.

MetroPCS is taking a conservative approach with its 4G network, rolling it out on a city-by-city basis with moderate spectrum resources. MetroPCS is introducing LTE in slices of spectrum that range from 5MHz down to 1.25Mhz, depending on the AWS and PCS spectrum resources available in each individual market. These spectrum sizes will determine the amount of bandwidth available to each handset. Those markets receiving the 1.25GHz slices will have speeds only slightly better than current 3G networks; while those with a full 5Hz slice will boast of higher speeds.

After its Las Vegas launch today, MetroPCS will roll out the nation’s first LTE network to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, locations in Florida, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco. All of MetroPCS’ coverage area have 4G access by the middle of 2011 and the carrier will add more LTE devices throughout 2011. Anyone in Las Vegas going to give MetroPCS’s 4G service a whirl?

[Via MetroPCS]

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