The Federal Communications Commission today indicated that T-Mobile USA has dropped a lawsuit filed against the FCC by the former MetroPCS. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS earlier this month. The aim of the lawsuit was to scuttle the FCC's Open Internet rules. On his last day in office, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "The FCC's widely supported open Internet framework has contributed to healthy growth in innovation and investment across the U.S. broadband economy. Since 2010, our strong and balanced rules have been protecting entrepreneurs and consumers, and have increased certainty and predictability for investors in Internet services as well as networks. The ongoing litigation – now pursued by a single company – only serves to reduce that certainty and predictability. I applaud T-Mobile's decision to withdraw from this litigation." Verizon Wireless is now the only company actively pursuing litigation against the FCC and its rules.
T-Mobile plans to aggressively expand the reach of MetroPCS' network footprint by 100 million points of presence over the next six quarters. The network will expand to 15 major metropolitan areas quickly, though the markets and exact timing were not revealed. T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter, speaking to investors, said that T-Mobile and MetroPCS have already finalized the integration of their back-office systems. T-Mobile will be pushing HSPA+ and LTE devices to MetroPCS stores within weeks. These devices will be sold under Metro's brand, but will operate on T-Mobile's network. Carter said that T-Mobile beat its mid-year goal of covering 170 million POPs with HSPA+ in its 1900MHz spectrum, and will easily hit 200 million by the end of the year. Braxton also indicated that T-Mobile will cover 100 million POPs with LTE by mid-year, and 200 million by year's end.
T-Mobile USA today announced that it has closed its merger with MetroPCS. Moving forward, the company will be known as T-Mobile US, Inc., and the combined entity will begin trading under the New York Stock Exchange today. The company will remain headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., but will maintain significant operations in Richardson, Texas, which is MetroPCS's home base. The new company will be run by John Legere, who will serve as President and CEO. J. Braxton Carter, from MetroPCS, will take over duties as the CFO. T-Mobile will continue to operate both brands separately, but T-Mobile will slowly begin to move new MetoPCS customers to handsets that operate on T-Mobile's network. T-Mobile US, Inc. claims to have 43 million subscribers. It now covers 301 million POPs with its combined network, of which it says 228 million have access to 4G (in this case, HSPA+). T-Mobile expects to cover 200 million POPs with LTE by the end of the year. The combined companies' spectrum will give it 20+20MHz channels of 4G LTE in approximately 90% of the top 25 metro regions around the country. "The combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS creates an even stronger disruptive force in the U.S. wireless market," said John Legere. "Together, as America's Un-carrier, we'll continue our legacy of marketplace innovation by tearing up the old playbook and rewriting the rules of wireless to benefit consumers."
MetroPCS shareholders today have voted in favor of merging with T-Mobile USA, reports Bloomberg. Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile's parent company) improved the terms of the deal for MetroPCS earlier this month, and MetroPCS' board has already approved it. The deal also has full U.S. regulatory approval. Now that the shareholders have voted in favor of the deal, T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS can finalize their merger. Deutsche Telekom said it expects the deal to close by May 1. "This is a major step for Deutsche Telekom," said Rene Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. "The merger with MetroPCS is extremely important, since it enables us to be more aggressive in the USA."
MetroPCS' board of directors has reviewed the revised merger bid from Deutsche Telekom and unanimously approved the merger under the new terms. Deutsche Telekom amended the terms of the merger agreement such that it includes less debt and a better interest rate after it appeared that MetroPCS investors might vote down the proposed merger. Deutsche Telekom called the revised terms its "best and final offer." The merger has already been approved by the government and is awaiting a MetroPCS shareholder vote. The vote was originally to take place April 12, but was rescheduled to April 24 to give shareholders more time to consider the revised terms.
MetroPCS responded to Deutsche Telekom's improved merger offer Wednesday by delaying the key shareholder vote originally scheduled for April 12. MetroPCS delayed the vote until April 24 to give its shareholders time to consider the improved deal. Deutsche Telekom reduced the amount of debt that will be owed by the merged MetroPCS/T-Mobile entity to DT by $3.8 billion, and also lowered the interest rate on the loan. DT said this was its "best and final offer." The offer was improved due to resistance among MetroPCS shareholders over the original terms of the deal. The deal has already earned regulatory approval.
Deutsche Telekom today put forth its "best and final offer" to MetroPCS today in hopes of gaining shareholder favor. MetroPCS investors are prepared to vote on the merger, which has full U.S. government approval, on April 12. Several large investors are unhappy with the original terms of the deal and have been pushing other shareholders to reject the deal. In today's adjustment, Deutsche Telekom offered to reduce some of the debt owed by T-Mobile/MetroPCS to Deutsche Telekom by $3.8 billion, and it also dropped the interest rate for the loan. "This lower rate reflects the new capital structure of the combined company, the improved capital markets environment in recent months, and the interest rate level of MetroPCS newly issued $3.5 billion of bonds priced in March," said Deutsche Telekom. MetroPCS's largest shareholders have yet to officially respond to the new terms.
Dyle mobile TV is now available in three more markets, improving its total reach to 57% of Americans. According to Dyle, customers in Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Salt Lake City now have access to its mobile TV service, which offers 116 stations across 39 markets. In addition to the network expansion, Dyle has signed another broadcasting group, Sinclair, which runs a number of NBC and CBS affiliates in major markets around the country. Dyle mobile TV is available on the Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G, which is sold by MetroPCS. Dyle uses ATSC-M/H, a special mobile variant of the same technology used for over-the-air digital TV broadcasts. Dyle TV content is free to access with the proper equipment.
MetroPCS today announced the Huawei Premia 4G, a new Android smartphone that costs just $149. The Premia boasts a 4-inch 800 x 480 pixel display and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. The Premia features a 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash and 720p HD video capture, as well as a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. It is compatible with MetroPCS' joyn messaging service, and ships with Rhapsody preinstalled. Other features include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for MetroPCS' LTE 4G network. The Huawei Premia 4G runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is available online and in stores beginning today.
T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS today announced that their planned merger has received approval from all the necessary governmental bodies. On Wednesday, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States informed T-Mobile and MetroPCS that it saw no national security issues that might arise due to the transaction, and thereby concluded its review. The Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice have both already given their approval of the deal. The merger now hinges on a MetroPCS shareholder vote, which is set to take place April 12. MetroPCS is urging its shareholders to vote in favor of the transaction.
The Federal Communications Commission today approved T-Mobile's request to purchased MetroPCS in a reverse merger. After reviewing the applications by T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, the FCC believes the merger will, overall, be good for consumers in the U.S. "We find that the transaction is not likely to result generally in competitive or other public interest harms," said the FCC in a statement. "In addition, to the extent there may be some possible competitive harms in selected geographic areas, we find that these possible competitive harms are outweighed by certain public interest benefits likely to result from the proposed transaction. Such benefits include the facilitation of Long Term Evolution deployment, the expansion of the MetroPCS brand into new geographical markets, the development of a more robust, national network, improved quality of service, and the strengthening of the fourth largest nationwide service provider's ability to compete in the mobile broadband services market." Separately, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said, "With today's approval, America's mobile market continues to strengthen, moving toward robust competition and revitalized competitors. Today's action will benefit millions of American consumers and help the U.S maintain the global leadership in mobile it has regained in recent years." The Justice Department also recently green-lighted the deal, which now hinges on a MetroPCS shareholder vote.
The U.S. Department of Justice today indicated that it approves of T-Mobile USA's plan to merge with MetroPCS. Technically, the Justice Department allowed the shot clock, during which it would voice any formal objections or block the merger, to run out without fileding any complaints or taking any action against the merger. In so doing, the merger has been given approval. T-Mobile USA's planned merger with MetroPCS still needs to pass muster with the Federal Communications Commission and MetroPCS' stockholders. Some of MetroPCS's investors have recently indicated they will not approve the merger, but Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile USA, believes the merger will proceed as planned. MetroPCS has scheduled a shareholder vote on the merger for April 12. The Justice Department has taken a more active role in approving mergers in the wireless industry in recent years, and in 2011 blocked AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile USA. The DoJ's approval of the T-Mobile/MetroPCS deal means it sees little or no downside to consumers or the competitive market as a whole.
MetroPCS and T-Mobile face dissension among the shareholder ranks. MetroPCS shareholder John Paulson, who manages a hedge fund through Paulson & Co., notified MetroPCS today that he intends to vote against the proposed merger. Paulson's fund holds a 9.9% stake in MetroPCS. Paulson's decision follows a similar one by P. Schoenfeld, which owns a 2.3% stake in the company. The two shareholders believe that MetroPCS can negotiate a better acquisition deal with companies other than Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA's parent company. MetroPCS and T-Mobile are still confident the deal will garner the support from the majority of shareholders, as well as the federal government.
MetroPCS today filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning T-Mobile USA's proposed acquisition of the company. MetroPCS has scheduled a shareholder vote for March 28, and it is urging shareholders to approve the deal. "After a multi-year, thorough review of MetroPCS' options, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors, the MetroPCS board determined that this proposed combination is the best strategic alternative for our stockholders," said MetroPCS. Together, MetroPCS shareholders will receive about $1.5 billion in cash along with shares of the new company. The deal has yet to receive U.S. regulatory approval.
MetroPCS today announced the LG Spirit 4G, a new Android smartphone that has a 4.5-inch display protected by Gorilla Glass. The Spirit runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. The Spirit has a 5-megapixel main camera that can take 1080p HD video, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera for video chats. The Spirit features LG's QuickMemo application, which lets users take screen shots and compose memos on the. The Spirit supports MetroPCS' joyn messaging service, which can be used for instant messaging and calling via Wi-Fi. The LG Spirit 4G is available beginning today for $199 after a $70 mail-in rebate.
MetroPCS today announced new service plans that it hopes will make it easier for customers to pick the plan that's right for them. All the plans offer unlimited voice minutes and unlimited domestic messaging. The least expensive plan now costs $40 per month and offers 500MB of 4G speed. The middle option includes 2.5GB of 4G speed. The high-end plan offers unlimited 4G data for $60 per month. There is also an optional service bundle available. The bundle costs $5 per month and adds visual voicemail, call forwarding, international messaging, voicemail-to-text, directory assistance, 30 minutes of voice roaming, and caller ID. The plans are available beginning today and can be paired with most of MetroPCS's handsets.
Deutsche Telekom today announced that CEO Rene Obermann will vacate his leadership post in December 2013. The company has already announced that current CFO Timotheus Höttges will succeed Obermann after he leaves. Obermann has been CEO of Deutsche Telekom for seven years, and with the firm for a total of 16 years. Obermann will work closely with Höttges to ensure a smooth transition. Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of T-Mobile USA. Obermann played a vital role in attempting to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T in 2011, and later merging the company with MetroPCS. The MetroPCS merger should be finalized by mid-2013, before Obermann's departure.
MetroPCS today announced the ZTE Avid 4G, an entry-level Android smartphone. The Avid runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and includes a 4-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels. Features of the Avid include a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and 5-megapixel rear camera for imaging, and VGA front camera for video chats. The Avid can be used as a mobile hotspot, and supports MetroPCS's joyn messaging platform. It is available online and in stores beginning today for $149. It does not require a contract. MetroPCS is offering reduced-rate LTE 4G plans for a limited time, which range from $30 to $55 per month.
Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS have both begun offering handset financing programs that allow customers to pay off cell phone purchases over time. Both companies are working with a firm called Progressive Finance, which pays the carrier for the handset and then collects payments from the subscriber for their phone. According to Cricket Wireless, its financing program will cover up to 90% of the cost of a handset and then allow customers to pay for it over a maximum of nine months. Leap's Tyler Wallis, senior vice president of marketing and product development said, "We're really excited about it. Consumers are really excited about our rate plans, but they're struggling with the fact that an iPhone 5 is $500 upfront." MetroPCS did not provide details concerning its financing plan. In either case, the financing company does not perform a credit check. Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS do not require contracts. T-Mobile USA recently announced the end of device subsidies. Its program works differently in that customers make a downpayment on the cost of their cell phone up front and then make a monthly payment for it to T-Mobile throughout the life of their service contract.
MetroPCS today announced the Samsung Galaxy Admire 4G, a revised version of the Admire that includes support for MetroPCS's LTE 4G network. Other improvements compared to the original boost the processor speed from 800MHz to 1GHz, and increase the screen size from 3.5 inches to 3.6 inches. The Admire 4G also includes a 3-megapixel main camera and VGA user-facing camera, and MetroPCS's joyn rich messaging service. The Admire 4G runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It is available online starting today and in stores tomorrow for $169.
MetroPCS today indicated that its joyn service can now be used on a wider range of its Android handsets. The service initially launched on the Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G. It now also works on the Samsung Galaxy S III and S Lightray 4G; the LG Connect 4G and Motion 4G; the ZTE Anthem 4G; and the Coolpad Quattro 4G. Joyn is a standards-based Android application that collects and merges messaging services, such as IM and SMS. The app lets users conduct threaded text conversations and supports presence, which lets users know when their friends are available. It also makes it easier to share photo and video content when the user is on an active phone call (this is traditionally not possible on CDMA-based devices). Last, it lets MetroPCS customers make voice and video calls to other joyn users via Wi-Fi.
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to "defer action" with respect to T-Mobile USA's proposed merger with MetroPCS. The Justice Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security, are "reviewing this matter for any national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues." These agencies have yet to complete their reviews and are asking that the FCC refrain from taking any action (whether approving or disapproving) the deal before the agencies have a chance to submit their own results. The FCC began is 180-day review of the deal in October and is officially on day 32 of its review. The FCC has yet to indicate if it will halt the timeclock for the review, or simply wait until the other agencies complete their own reviews before it takes any action.
MetroPCS today announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed an official request for more information from the prepaid carrier concerning its pending merger with T-Mobile USA. According to MetroPCS, it will comply with the order and turn over whatever documents the government requests. It said the net effect of the request will be to extend the regulatory review period by about 30 days, as long as all parties (MetroPCS, T-Mobile USA, and Deutsche Telekom) comply with the order and submit the necessary documentation. MetroPCS noted that the deal still needs to meet shareholder approval, but it expects that shareholders and the government will greenlight the transaction so that it might close by the middle of 2013.
Cricket today announced the addition of two Android smartphones to its lineup. The LG Optimus Regard is a rebadged version of the LG Motion 4G, which is sold by MetroPCS. The Regard features a 3.5-inch display with 480 x 320 pixels, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel main camera, and VGA user-facing camera. It ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is the first smartphone to support Cricket's LTE 4G network. It is available starting today online and in stores for $249.99. Cricket also said the Samsung Galaxy S III will be available in the coming weeks. It will cost $549.99.
Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS are appealing a court decision regarding the Federal Communications Commission's mobile broadband regulations, which went into effect in December 2011. Verizon and MetroPCS argue that the FCC has overstepped its mandate with legislation that prevents network operators from managing certain types of network traffic. Verizon and MetroPCS make four main arguments. First, the Telecommunications Act "expressly forbids the FCC from applying common-carrier regulation to broadband Internet access, but the rules do just that." Second, the FCC lacks statutory authority to implement any such rules. Third, the rules are unconstitutional and violate the First Amendment. Verizon and MetroPCS argue, "Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech." Last, Verizon and MetroPCS maintain that the rules are "arbitrary and capricious." The rules were put into effect last year to prevent network operators from selectively controlling apps, services, and other functions that require mobile and wired broadband connections.
MetroPCS today launched Rich Communication Services, or RCS, under the joyn brand. Joyn is a standards-based Android application that collects and merges messaging services, such as IM and SMS. The app lets users conduct threaded text conversations and supports presence, which lets users know when their friends are available. It also makes it easier to share photo and video content when the user is on an active phone call (this is traditionally not possible on CDMA-based devices). Last, it lets MetroPCS customers make voice and video calls to other joyn users via Wi-Fi. The service will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy Attain. MetroPCS said 10 more handsets will be joyn-enabled by the end of November. The service is meant to coax users into using the carrier-branded messaging tools rather than replacement services from the likes of Skype, iMessage, Google Talk, and others.
MetroPCS recently began selling the Huawei Verge via its web site. The Verge is a bar-style feature phone that has a 2.4-inch screen with 640 x 480 resolution. The Verge also has a camera, Bluetooth, 192MHz processor and runs the BREW platform. The Verge has 30MB of internal storage and does not support microSD. The Verge is selling for $49.99 and does not require a contract.
Google today announced that its Google Wallet mobile payment service is now available on devices sold by MetroPCS. Specifically, the NFC-based platform can now be used to make tap-and-go mobile payments with the Samsung Galaxy S III. The news was announced via one of Google's official twitter accounts. It comes on the day Isis, a competitive mobile payment offering from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, launched its first trial markets.
MetroPCS today announced the pending availability of the Samsung Galaxy S III. The device will be available in select stores beginning this weekend, and in all stores and online by October 22. It includes all the same features available on other variants of the device, and supports MetroPCS's LTE 4G network. The MetroPCS version of the Galaxy S III is sold without a contract and costs $499. Service plans range from $30 to $70 per month.
T-Mobile USA CTO Neville Ray said that it will keep the voice over LTE service offered by MetroPCS up and running, at least in the short term, once the companies are merged. Speaking to GigaOm, Ray said, "We will certainly support the VoLTE services that MetroPCS has today. But is that the VoLTE we want to populate the new network with? TBD." T-Mobile will eventually move its voice traffic to an all IP network, but it is not in a hurry. "The rush to get to VoLTE is less for T-Mobile because we have such underlying strength on GSM and HSPA+," said Ray. MetroPCS has less capacity on its network for voice and data services together. It was the first carrier to launch VoLTE in the U.S. T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS are to be merged, as long as Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA's parent company, is able to score the necessary regulatory approval. T-Mobile plans to migrate MetroPCS's CDMA customers onto its GSM network, shut down the CDMA network, and then refarm that spectrum for its own 4G network.
Softbank, Japan's third-largest mobile network operator, is in advanced talks to purchase Sprint. Citing sources familiar with the companies' plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sotftbank may pay as much as $12.8 billion for the U.S.'s third-largest carrier. Sprint executives have remarked in the past that they expect to see the industry consolidate further and even approve of it, as long as Verizon Wireless and AT&T - the country's two largest carriers - aren't involved. The Journal's sources did not say if Softbank will purchase all of Sprint or some of it. Neither Sprint nor Softbank confirmed the Journal's report. Earlier this month Deutsche Telekom proposed to merge its T-Mobile USA unit with MetroPCS.
A draft report written by the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee concludes that both Huawei and ZTE should be prevented from expanding their businesses in the U.S. due the possibility that they could threaten the national security of the U.S. The draft report, which is set to be published in final form October 8, is the culmination of an 11-month investigation into the two corporations, which make wireless networking gear and cellular telephones. "U.S. network providers and system developers are strongly encouraged to seek other vendors for their projects," said a portion of the report. It also said Huawei and ZTE "cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems." The authors of the report said that both companies were reluctant to hand over key documents about their relationships with the Chinese government. The authors also said they received "credible allegations" that suggested Huawei is guilty of bribery, corruption, discriminatory behavior, and other malfeasance. Huawei spokesperson Bill Plummer rejected the reports conclusions. "Baseless suggestions...that Huawei is somehow uniquely vulnerable to cyber mischief ignore technical and commercial realities, recklessly threaten American jobs and innovation, do nothing to protect national security, and should be exposed as dangerous political distractions from legitimate public-private initiatives to address what are global and industry-wide cyber challenges." Plummer's comments went submitted to Reuters via email. It's not clear how the report will affect Huawei and ZTE's existing business relationships. MetroPCS, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA all sell Huawei and/or ZTE handsets.
Samsung and MetroPCS today published some information on their web sites about the R270 Contour 2. This entry-level flip phone, which is a follow up to the R250 Contour, is being offered by MetroPCS for $59.99. It inlcudes a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1 with stereo support, WAP browser, email, dual displays, and GPS. The Contour 2 can be purchased directly from MetroPCS's web site. The R270 Contour 2 is being sold by U.S. Cellular as the R270 Chrono 2.
Sprint is considering whether or not it should make a counteroffer to T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom for MetroPCS. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Sprint is going over its financials to determine if it can make a bid for the prepaid carrier. It had been considering acquiring MetroPCS for several weeks. Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS announced on Wednesday plans to merge T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, which are the fourth- and fifth-largest carriers in the U.S., respectively. Even combined, the merged companies will still rank fourth behind Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint. Sprint may decide as soon as next week if it will make an offer. Bloomberg also reports that Deutsche Telekom is "prepared" for a counteroffer from Sprint, and will weigh terms as necessary.
T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS today outlined their plans to transition their disparate GSM/HSPA+ and CDMA/LTE networks into a single HSPA+/LTE network within several years. Speaking to investors, the companies explained that MetroPCS's 1X CDMA network will be turned off by 2015. Thanks in part to the high rate of device turnover within MetroPCS, they believe it won't be difficult to transition customers from MetroPCS's CDMA-based handsets to ones using the same GSM-based technology offered by T-Mobile. T-Mobile is already in the process of refarming its 1900MHz spectrum for use with GSM/HSPA+ rather than GSM/EDGE. With MetroPCS's 1900MHz CDMA network turned off, it could then be used to supplement T-Mobile's HSPA+ coverage. The combined T-Mobile/MetroPCS will eventually offer GSM/HSPA+ entirely in the 1900MHz band, and LTE 4G in the 1700MHz AWS band.
Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS today announced that the companies have agreed to merge T-Mobile USA with MetroPCS. The combined company will be called T-Mobile, and will be run by current T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere. The transaction would be a reverse merger, wherein the smaller MetroPCS will acquire the larger T-Mobile USA. Deutsche Telekom would then have time to reduce its ownership of the firm through gradual equity sales rather than all at once. Initially, Deutsche Telekom will own 74% of the merged entity and MetroPCS will own 26%. Deutsche Telekom will give MetroPCS $1.5 billion in cash, will assume the bulk of T-Mobile USA's debt, and will provide $500 million in credit for the new company. According to Deutsche Telekom, the new company would have "a path to at least 20x20 MHz of 4G LTE in many areas." Deutsche Telekom said MetroPCS's customers will be migrated to LTE-based hardware if/when they need to update their devices. The companies believe the combined T-Mobile USA/MetroPCS will be able to compete better with the nation's top three wireless network operators through improved handset selection, $6 to $7 billion in cost savings, and increase its B2B and MVNO opportunities. If approved by the government, the merged business would have about 42.5 million customers, still well below the subscriber numbers of AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2013.
Deutsche Telekom today confirmed earlier reports that it is discussing a strategic tie-up with MetroPCS and its T-Mobile USA subsidiary. Deutsche Telekom said that "significant issues have not yet been finalized" regarding the deal, and it has not reached a final decision on the matter. Separately, MetroPCS issued its own statement confirming the talks. It said, "MetroPCS is in discussions with Deutsche Telekom regarding an agreement to combine T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS. There can be no assurances that any transaction will result from these discussions, and the Company does not intend to comment further unless and until an agreement is reached." T-Mobile and MetroPCS are the fourth- and fifth-largest network operators in the U.S., respectively. T-Mobile provides post- and prepaid services using GSM-based technology and is currently planning to roll out LTE in 2013. MetroPCS provides prepaid services using CDMA technology. It is already deploying LTE in some of its markets. Both companies have 1900MHz and 1700MHz spectrum holdings. Deutsche Telekom has been mulling options for its T-Mobile USA business for years, and failed to sell it to AT&T in 2011.
MetroPCS today made the Huawei Pinnacle 2 available for sale via its web site. The Pinnacle 2 is a bar-style feature phone with a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. It runs Qualcomm's BREW operating system with a 192MHz processor and features a 1.3-megapixel camera, 2.4-inch display, stereo Bluetooth, GPS, email, music player, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Pinnacle 2 costs $59 and does not require a contract.
MetroPCS had the ZTE Anthem 4G on hand at an event in New York City. Here are our initial impressions.
MetroPCS today said that it will require another four to six months of fine-tuning before voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be available in all 14 of its LTE markets. Speaking at an investor conference, MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist said, "There are a number of changes that need to be made in base station optimization in Dallas." MetroPCS was the first U.S. carrier to launch VoLTE service, which went live in Dallas earlier this year. "This is not your grandfather's Buick. This is a different animal." Linquist also said that the company plans to update its LTE devices as it makes improvements to its LTE network, and hinted that the updates will include new features. "We think there's an opportunity for people to be assured that they won't have to discard their handset because there's a new technology coming in," he said. As the name implies, voice over LTE uses the LTE data network to conduct voice calls, rather than the legacy cellular network.