MetroPCS raised the profile of its LTE device lineup today with the addition of Samsung’s hugely popular Galaxy S III smartphone.
The smartphone isn’t the first high-end Samsung device to land in MetroPCS’ LTE portfolio, but it is arguably the most well-known.
The Galaxy S III is already available at AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and C Spire Wireless. MetroPCS will start selling the device on Monday.
MetroPCS is counting on its customers’ willingness to pay a premium to get the phone off-contract. Customers will have to pay $500 to get the Galaxy S III without a contract through MetroPCS, versus the on-contract price of $200 at the other postpaid providers.
LTE smartphones are a key part of MetroPCS’ strategy as it works to shift customers off its CDMA network so the spectrum can be reused for its faster, more efficient LTE network.
The prepaid provider rolled out several new LTE devices for the back-to-school season with price tags ranging from $80 to $460. The Galaxy S III will be the costliest smartphone offered by MetroPCS so far.
MetroPCS is being acquired by T-Mobile, which said it plans to shut down the CDMA network altogether instead of switching out the equipment with its own GSM gear. The two operators both use AWS for LTE, and their combined spectrum assets will make their eventual combined LTE service more competitive with services offered by AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
The debut of the Galaxy S III at MetroPCS is in keeping with Samsung’s multicarrier strategy. The manufacturer has eschewed exclusivity agreements in favor of more widespread distribution, helping it gain market share.