Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications Inc. (NYSE: PCS) said Wednesday that it will offer Detroit-area customers faster mobile phone data and video speeds, with what it’s calling the first commercial 4G (for fourth-generation) wireless services in the region.

Monthly plans start at $55 and include fast Web access along with unlimited voice and text services on the world’s first commercially available 4G LTE-enabled handset from Samsung Mobile, the Samsung Craft.

Detroit is the third U.S. city where MetroPCS is offering commercial 4G LTE service, with additional major metropolitan areas to follow later this year and into early 2011.

Metro PCS Roger D. Linquist said the company plans to expand the 4G coverage to other areas of eastern and western Michigan throughout 2011.

A $60 plan includes MetroStudio, powered by RealNetworks, which includes access to entertainment content that consumers demand, such as full-track downloads, ringtones and ring-back tones, as well as premium video content from NBC Universal, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Univision.

The service also features a new social networking and instant messaging application which harnesses notifications, friends and content from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter social networks and AIM, MSN and Yahoo IM clients into a single interface that consumers can access with one click.

There’s also voice-activated GPS and turn-by-turn directions.

The Samsung Craft phone costs $299 after a $50 instant rebate. It features a 3.3-inch AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) screen, and comes with a  2GB MicroSD card pre-loaded with Paramount Pictures’ hit movie “Star Trek-The Future Begins.”

For details on rate plans and service features: www.metropcs.com/plans.

Metro PCS’ competitors say they plan rollouts of 4G services soon — AT&T in 2011, Verizon later this year, starting in parts of Oakland and Macomb counties. Verizon spokesman Alan Upchurch said the larger Detroit launch was delayed due to spectrum interference with a Canadian TV station across the border. Once the issue is resolved, the company will expand its metro Detroit 4G coverage area.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.


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