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Samsung Smartphone with Voice Over LTE Coming to MetroPCS

Posted by Mohd Khairun Nasir Saadi On - - 0 comments


Editor's Note 2-11: Warren contacted us today to say he misspoke and that the phone will be made by Samsung, not HTC. Our story has been corrected to reflect that this will be a Samsung device, not an HTC device.

MetroPCS will deliver a Voice Over LTE-capable phone from Samsung, making the unnamed cell phone the second after Verizon Wireless's LG Revolution to be able to make phone calls over the new 4G network, Dan Warren, technology director for the GSM Association, said today.

Tiny MetroPCS and huge Verizon Wireless have been trading places on LTE leadership for the past few months as Metro tries to gain press and customers by one-upping its biggest rival at its own game. MetroPCS was the first to launch an LTE phone, the Samsung Craft, but Verizon then debuted a much larger, faster LTE network than MetroPCS runs. Verizon's first LTE smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, is coming in a few weeks, so MetroPCS made sure to release the Samsung Galaxy Indulge this week.

Yesterday Verizon reported that it had completed a Voice Over LTE call with the upcoming LG Revolution phone, which is coming out this summer. For Verizon, VoLTE lets the carrier give the same "simultaneous voice and data" experience that AT&T has been touting in its iPhone ads of late.

VoLTE is even more critical for MetroPCS, which has to share very limited spectrum between 2G CDMA and LTE. Enabling VoLTE lets MetroPCS devote more spectrum to LTE and support more customers at faster Internet speeds.

Unlike current VoIP systems such as Skype and Fring, VoLTE is totally integrated into carrier networks. It acts in every way like making an old-fashioned, circuit-switched voice call, just over the LTE network rather than using an old 2G system.

"It's a handset that makes a voice call and feels like what you have today," Warren said. "What's under the hood is hidden from the consumer."

The constant competition comes despite the fact that the two companies have very different LTE strategies. For Verizon, LTE is a super-fast Internet network. For MetroPCS, it lets the carrier offer 3G-like services at very low rates to a wide range of people. MetroPCS currently offers LTE in 13 metro areas; Verizon has 38.

MetroPCS declined to comment on this story.

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