Updated: Just Gotta Review Metro’s Aha Moment!

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Metro announces they sold their first VoLTE phone in the Dallas market tonight (07Aug12), the LG Connect 4G Android™. This is a necessary step for Metro as they will now be able to offer simultaneous voice and data for the first time now (SVLTE) and helps address the lack of spectrum they face in a few markets. I imagine they will w

ant/need to go down from AMR 14.4 voice coding in the future (default for VoLTE) due to the lack of efficiency compared to the EVRC-B that they are using today but they can surely start there. Also note, with the IMS client on the LG Connect, this device can also technically (InterRAT) handover to a WiFi channel (assuming they have deployed edge security and ePDG in the network), so they can technically have offload very rapidly, no small cells to deploy. This could be very interesting.

BTW, SK Telecom and LG Uplus announced their launches today too, so there was apparently a race on to be the first in the world, although the Korean launches seem to feature HD voice with a wideband Vocoder.

Gold/silver/bronze finish for US and S.Korea…


The full Press Release is at the bottom…

 Now full disclosure here: I have been involved with MetroPCS’s (again should we go to MetroLTE?) LTE involvement from the time it was a what if scenario. OK, fast forward…so I’m reading Bloomberg, Reuters etc… and they are going on about the good results from MetroPCS. Let’s review. Reuters specifically says: 

At the end of the second quarter, the company said, about 8 percent of its subscribers were using its so-called fourth generation high-speed service, which is based on a technology known as Long Term Evolution.

The company’s service revenue rose 4 percent to $1.16 billion for the quarter. Quarterly average revenue per user was $40.62, up 13 cents from a year earlier.

MetroPCS posted a net subscriber loss of 186,000 in the second quarter. Analysts had been expecting its subscriber numbers to fall by 94,000 to 174,000, according to four analysts contacted by Reuters.

The company said it expects to boost subscriber growth with 4G LTE For All, a line of affordable 4G LTE smartphones it plans to launch in the second half of 2012.

“During the fourth quarter, we expect our 4G LTE For All initiative to lead to a return to subscriber growth,” Chief Executive Roger Linquist said in a statement.

Churn — or customer defection rate — fell by half a percentage point to 3.4 percent for the quarter.

So the key points that stuck out to me are:

  • Metro is shedding their prepaid voice subscribers but gaining sticky LTE subscribers. 
  • Metro expects to grow subscribers- LTE subscribers
  • OPEX doesn’t seem to be out of control with prepaid all you can eat LTE data users.
  • They are planning to refarm their CDMA spectrum using VoLTE and presumably an all LTE device line up.
  • Churn is down so customers seem to be happy
MetroPCS deployed LTE on their existing AWS and PCS spectrum. Many said they couldn’t be successful on such limited spectrum. Metro even made tough choices with their towers and antennae to deploy but not break the bank. That took some courage. Also worth noting, they are completely prepaid so customers are buying these smartphones outright. LTE smartphones to boot.
So the big (public) bets placed by Metro’s exec team like skipping EVDO and heading for LTE with their prepaid customer model intact seems to be working for them. This is a good thing for MPCS shareholders but a really good thing for consumers (with an interest in wireless services) in general. It must have been a moment to sit in their conference room and get the news that the bets are paying off. So obviously they have their work cut out for them, they need more LTE devices from more OEMs, they need more spectrum to both improve performance and meet the demand from their growing customer base, and to do that they will either need to buy more spectrum or deploy VoLTE (with the associated IMS integration, UE clients etc…) to help them refarm the existing CDMA spectrum. That’s a lot to get done!
Go MetroPCS!
Links: reuters.com, prnewswire.com

MetroPCS Launches World’s First Commercially Available Voice Over LTE Service and VoLTE-Capable 4G LTE Smartphone (via PR Newswire)

DALLAS, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS) today reached another innovation milestone by announcing the world’s first commercial launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, availability of the world’s first VoLTE-capable handsets and the first sale of a VoLTE-capable…

DALLAS, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS) today reached another innovation milestone by announcing the world’s first commercial launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, availability of the world’s first VoLTE-capable handsets and the first sale of a VoLTE-capable handset at one of the company’s Dallas/Fort Worth store locations. MetroPCS is selling the new VoLTE-capable LG Connect 4G Android™ smartphone at select U.S. stores and will continue to roll out VoLTE services and phones in the coming weeks.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100714/DA34639LOGO-b)

“Being the first operator globally to reach this industry first speaks volumes about our company’s innovative spirit and passion to achieve goals that we believe will have long-term benefit for our customers and for the company,” said Roger Linquist, chairman and chief executive officer of MetroPCS. “The initial move to LTE and this move to VoLTE allow us to achieve significant spectral efficiencies and will increase network capacity so that we can enhance the 4G LTE experience that our customers have today at a tremendous value. VoLTE also provides a foundational capability for future Rich Communication Services (RCS), which we plan to launch later this year.”

The addition of VoLTE capabilities to MetroPCS’ 4G LTE handsets will be transparent to consumers as they continue to enjoy all the voice and 4G LTE data services with which they are already familiar. Calls to and from the handset will use VoLTE, regardless of the handset or network used on the other end of the call.

MetroPCS was the first U.S. carrier to deploy a commercial 4G LTE network in September 2010 and has since built out its 4G LTE network to cover roughly 90 percent of its CDMA footprint.

For more information, please visit:
Details on rate plans and service features: www.metropcs.com/plans
MetroPCS Terms and Conditions of Service: www.metropcs.com/privacy/terms.aspx
Press resources: www.metropcs.com/presscenter
Follow MetroPCS on Twitter: www.twitter.com/metropcs
Become a fan of MetroPCS on Facebook: www.facebook.com/metropcs
View MetroPCS’ latest videos: www.YouTube.com/metropcs

About MetroPCS Communications, Inc.

Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS) is a provider of no annual contract, unlimited wireless communications service for a flat rate. MetroPCS is the fifth largest facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States based on number of subscribers served. With Metro USA(SM), MetroPCS customers can use their service in areas throughout the United States covering a population of over 280 million people. As of June 30, 2012, MetroPCS had approximately 9.3 million subscribers. For more information please visit www.metropcs.com.


SOURCE MetroPCS Communications, Inc.

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