When we think of "budget" phones, a $500 Galaxy S III may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, MetroPCS' usual strategy of having customers buy phones off contract and save money on the service is in full swing here. The device comes with a hefty price tag up front, but pick up the carrier's $50/month plan for unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of data, and you're looking at around $1700 over the course of 2 years. Compare that to, say an $80/month plan with a $200 device ($2120 over two years) and you could face some steep savings.
Previously, we'd heard rumors and whispers that T-Mobile (by way of its parent company Deutsche Telekom) would be acquiring MetroPCS. Today, both companies' boards have approved the merger and, pending regulatory and MetroPCS shareholder approval, the deal should be completed by mid-2013. The two companies will have a combined subscriber base of about 42.5 million customers, which still leaves it in fourth place in the U.S. behind Sprint with 56 million and AT&T/Verizon who each have over 100 million users.
The biggest news is that this will allow T-Mobile the spectrum it needs to rollout a competitive LTE network. In fact, T-Mo's CEO John Legere hopes to some day be able to "taunt" competitors over their LTE coverage.
Update: Deutsche Telekom has confirmed that this merger will be happening (given regulatory approval), and that DT will run T-Mobile and MetroPCS as one company. The DT board will meet tomorrow to approve the transaction.
According to Reuters, "three sources familiar with the situation" are saying a deal between T-Mobile and MetroPCS is "close," and by close, they mean an announcement is probably happening tomorrow.
This is a bit odd, given that MetroPCS is a CDMA carrier, and that network is largely incompatible with T-Mobile's current spectrum holdings. MetroPCS does have a burgeoning LTE network, though, and this may be the proverbial apple of T-Mobile's eye driving the deal.
MetroPCS just announced a new 4G smartphone from ZTE for its ever-expanding 4G LTE network. Dubbed the Anthem, this new handset offers mid-range specs under a 4.3" 480x800 display, including a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and Android 2.3. Past that, the pay-as-you-go carrier was overly-scant on details, but we'll assume it's packing 1GB of RAM and some sort of camera (5MP, maybe?).
So far as looks are concerned, it's not the prettiest thing we've ever seen, but it's hard to complain for around $220 (after MiR) with no contractual agreement.
The Anthem will be available "in the coming weeks." We'll let you know when that time comes.
Just last week, MetroPCS announced a new offering from LG, along with an ultra-affordable $55 unlimited LTE plan. This week, the pay-as-you-go carrier is announcing an even more affordable 4G LTE handset: the Coolpad Quattro 4G.
This marks Coolpad's first venture into U.S. territory, and with a price of $99 (after $50 mail-in-rebate) sans-contract, the Quattro is priced to move units. Of course, when it comes to smartphones like this, you get what you pay for:
- 4" display
- 1GHz processor
- 3.2MP rear shooter, front-facing camera
- 4G LTE
- Android 2.3.x
Notice something oddly familiar about this little handset? If you had to do a double-take because you thought it was a Samsung device, you're not alone.
If affordable phones, unlimited 4G LTE data, and no contracts are all things that appeal to you, then today's announcement from MetroPCS may be of interest.
For starters, the pay-as-you-go company announced the LG Motion, a new mid-range device that will run on its 4G LTE network. It didn't give a lot in way of specs, but the device features a 3.5" display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and Android 4.0 for $150. Small, powerful, and more affordable that other carriers' on-contract pricing. Not bad.
More interestingly, the company also announced a new all you can eat 4G LTE data plan for $55 per month for a single line.
Today, MetroPCS announced yet another addition to its stable of prepaid Android smartphones. One of the pricier off-contract handsets, the device retails for $459. So, what do you get for a significant portion of your rent for the month? Well, for a Metro PCS phone, it's actually a pretty decent spec list:
- 4.3" Super AMOLED display
- 1Ghz processor
- 8MP rear-facing camera w/ flash
- 1.3MP front-facing camera
- 32GB of "external memory"*
*Note: It's a little unclear what they mean by "32GB of external memory." The device's spec page also lists a 16GB memory card, so it may be that the device has an SD card slot that supports up to 32GB, but only includes a 16GB card.
Rounding out the list of budget Android handsets for which details emerged overnight, it looks like Samsung will be releasing the Droid Charge look-alike Galaxy S Lightray 4G to MetroPCS in mid-August.
The Galaxy S Lightray is not your average budget device, though – besides a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display (carrying an unknown resolution), 8MP rear camera (with flash), 4G LTE connectivity and (maybe) a 1.3GHz single-core processor, this phone appears to be packing a TV antenna for "Mobile TV" (evidently powered by Dyle TV). Besides that interesting inclusion, the Lightray will also feature HDMI out and a mobile hotspot capability.
It may not get the tech world's heart all a-flutter to hear that MetroPCS is launching a Huawei phone, but the world needs budget phones and networks too! The duo is teaming up this time to bring no fewer than four gees to consumers for the first time in a Huawei device. The Activa 4G is a modestly spec'd phone, with a 3.5" HVGA display, a 5 megapixel camera, and running Android 2.3. It's still sad to see phones shipping with Gingerbread, but on budget devices, it's not as unexpected.
The device, predictably, is pretty cheap. At a normal price of $250, the phone comes down to $150 after a $50 mail-in, and another $50 instant rebate.
We all love LTE. We also all love not being broke, if we can avoid it. Sometimes our two great loves conflict with each other. MetroPCS wants to try and make this love triangle work with $40 unlimited plans for all LTE devices in its portfolio. There's a catch, though: you're only allowed 100 MB of "multimedia streaming access."
According to MetroPCS, "multimedia streaming access" is defined as "content that is programmed as streaming within a web site." Suffice to say, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, and any number of other services that you might want to use would fall into this category.