Discount carrier MetroPCS Communications has tapped Ericsson and Samsung for its 2010 launch of its LTE network. Ericsson will provide infrastructure equipment and Samsung will provide the carrier’s initial LTE handset.
MetroPCS plans to launch LTE and a dual-mode LTE/CDMA smartphone in its major metropolitan areas including New York City and Los Angeles by late 2010, said MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist. MetroPCS is the fifth-largest network operator in the United States and has a subscriber base of about 6.3 million people.
Winning the MetroPCS LTE contract is another North American win for Ericsson, which scored a chunk of Verizon’s LTE infrastructure buildout in February. Its winning bid for Nortel’s CDMA/LTE assets in late July furthered the strength of its North American presence.
Samsung is working to expand its LTE device offerings and announced earlier this month that it has developed an LTE modem compliant with 3GPP’s latest standards release.
MetroPCS is recovering from a steep drop in profitability arising from its rapid expansion into its northeastern markets, which caused its second-quarter profit to fall nearly 50 percent. The carrier also has been competing aggressively against Leap Wireless International subsidiary Cricket, adding features to its $40 per month unlimited plan.