During comments made at the Wells Fargo Securities 2010 Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, MetroPCS CFO J. Braxton Carter hinted the prepaid carrier may launch an LTE-based Samsung Galaxy S device in 2011.
Speaking of the company’s smartphone portfolio, Carter said future launches of LTE handsets are going to be “more on the high end.”
“We’re certainly going to be on the very high end with a Galaxy-type Android offering,” he said, adding that the company would also offer “more affordable smartphones for LTE roughly in the $200 to $250 zipcode, which we think will help uptake.”
MetroPCS is in the process of deploying LTE in select markets and already has come out with its first LTE handset, the Samsung Craft.
Carter also said MetroPCS plans to conduct trials of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the latter part of this year, going into next year. He said commercial deployments of VoLTE wouldn’t be realistic until the end of next year and early 2012.
The speeds of MetroPCS’ LTE network have been hampered by the company’s limited spectrum resources, and Carter said the company is looking at “opportunistic” ways of acquiring new spectrum, especially in the Philadelphia market, where the carrier only has 10 MHz of spectrum.
“A lot of what we’ve deployed so far is in 5 MHz and 10 MHz chunks of spectrum. You can certainly deploy on smaller chunks of spectrum and we kind of pioneered that with our relationship with Ericsson, but the speed and the performance is degraded by using smaller blocks of spectrum, so it is important to us to address the Philadelphia situation,” he said.
Carter did not sound optimistic about the FCC’s pledge to free up spectrum for mobile broadband, citing cost and time to market for more bandwidth.