For too long, smartphone owners desiring 4G LTE speeds had to sign up for an oppressive and expensive two-year contract. Enter MetroPCS, with its affordable lineup of devices and plans. Established in 1994 as General Wireless, MetroPCS primarily markets toward young urbanites, recruiting popular sports figures such as Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets as one of its prominent spokespeople. The carrier currently serves 9.5 million subscribers in major metropolitan areas, offering a bevy of unlimited features.
MetroPCS offers a number of special features that sets it apart from the pack. There’s eWallet, which enables customers to check and pay their bills, change plans or add and remove unlimited features. Subscribers can also take advantage of MetroStudio, where users can purchase songs, ringtones and ringback tones. Avid music lovers willing to spend a few extra dollars can opt-in for unlimited music or video service via unlimited Rhaspody and Video on Demand services for $9.99 per month each. Streaming-video fans can also check out the Videos on Demand Service. There’s also MetroPCS’ @metro App Store, which has a relatively meager offering of 750 apps and games that users can purchase to personalize their devices.
MetroPCS says it covers 90 percent of all Americans, or 280 million people. The carrier offers 4G LTE speeds in its 14 core markets, including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and
Orlando, but only in parts of those cities. MetroPCS is in the process of completing its 1:1 overlay, which would expand its 4G LTE footprint to match the coverage area of its CDMA network.
Plans and Value
Similar to Boost Mobile, MetroPCS offers unlimited talk, text and Web. MetroPCS customers have the benefit of limited 4G LTE service, though it’s subject to data throttling. There are four 4G LTE plans available on MetroPCS, starting with the $40 plan for a meager 250MB of data. The $50 plan ups the limit to 2.5GB of 4G LTE, while $60 subscribers receive 5GB of data. The $70 plan offers unlimited 4G LTE as well as MetroStudio on Video on Demand, which gives customers instant streaming video from ABC, ESPN and NBC.
MetroPCS customers have the option to upgrade or downgrade their plan from month to month. Unlike big carriers, MetroPCS doesn’t charge roaming fees due to the partnerships it has in place with other carriers.
MetroPCS offers 11 smartphones via its online store. However, only three phones, the $329 LG Esteem, the $249 Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G and the $249 LG Connect 4G are 4G LTE-compatible. During our testing the LG Connect 4G delivered strong performance and graphics, thanks to its 1.2-GHz dual-core CPU. The pricier Esteem features a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass Screen, 5-MP camera and front-facing 1.3-MP camera.
Consumers looking for unlimited talk, text and data with a splash of 4G LTE speed should give MetroPCS a shot. While not as cheap as Boost Mobile and its Shrinkage feature, MetroPCS remains a cheaper alternative to larger carriers. It’s a solid choice for consumers who want a nice bundled package with some high-speed data thrown in.