First 4G LTE Phone Gets Approved By The FCC

Recently, the FCC approved the first handset that will use LTE (long-term evolution) 4G technology. Although Sprint may have been the first to launch a WiMAX phone earlier this year with the HTC EVO 4G, MetroPCS is hoping to be the first carrier to launch the first handset in the United States with LTE 4G technology on board.

Earlier this year, MetroPCS announced its first LTE 4G wireless handset in the form of the Samsung SCH-r900 in March. Now this phone has been approved by the FCC. Although FCC approval doesn't mean the phone will be available soon, MetroPCS has said that it hopes to launch the LTE handset sometime this summer. MetroPCS hasn't provided an update in recent months on the progress with its LTE network and hasn't said when the upgraded network or the device will launch.

At this point, we don't know much about the Samsung SCH-r900 including which operating system it will run. We would suspect the phone will either be a feature phone or smartphone, and it's quite possible that it could run on Android. The phone uses the 1700/1900MHz spectrum that MetroPCS owns for LTE, standard CDMA voice technology, and also has Wi-Fi. When Samsung announced the r900 it said it would have real-time streaming video-on-demand, Web browsing, music downloading and other features.

Verizon Wireless is working on its own LTE build out and is committed to launching 25 to 30 markets later this year. We expect the first devices to launch will be laptop dongles rather than phones.