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MetroPCS Drops LTE Intro Plan To $40
And begins tinkering with content restrictive pricing models
by Karl Bode 12:12PM Monday Jan 03 2011
Last fall MetroPCS was the first mobile operator in the United States to launch LTE wireless broadband service in parts of Las Vegas, the Dallas Fort Worth area, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Detroit. However, being first didn't mean it was necessarily good -- the company offering no data card service, no tethering, limited coverage, 3G-esque speeds and only one supported device: the underwhelming $300 Samsung Craft. Still, people were quick to respond to our criticims by noting the plan was cheap, starting at $55 for unlimited text, voice and data.

Now the company is taking things even further, issuing a press release that notes they're dropping their entry-level tier to $40. The release is interesting not only because of the price -- but because MetroPCS appears to be pioneering an effort to charge depending on the content accessed, something network management vendors have been pushing hard. In this case, MetroPCS has unveiled a new $40 plan that offers unlimited text, talk, web browsing and YouTube access -- but not necessarily unlimited Internet access. From the company's plans page:

Click for full size
$40 service plan offers unlimited talk, text, 4G Web browsing with unlimited YouTube access.

$50 service plan includes the same unlimited talk, text, 4G Web services and unlimited YouTube access as the $40 plan. Additional features include international and premium text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation with MetroNAVIGATORTM, ScreenIT, mobile instant messaging, corporate e-mail and 1 GB of additional data access, with premium features available through MetroSTUDIOTM when connected via Wi-Fi, including audio capabilities to listen and download music and access to preview and trial video content.

$60 service plan provides the same premium features as the $50 plan, plus unlimited data access and MetroSTUDIO premium content such as 18 video-on-demand channels and audio downloads.

It's also interesting to note that in order to get real, unlimited Internet access -- users now have to sign up for a tier that pushes MetroPCS content on the consumer. Their terms of service certainly gets interesting very quickly, with rather nebulous definitions of what MetroPCS deems "data access" and varying restrictions on what kind of content you can actually access:
quote:
Depending on your Rate Plan, your usage of Data Access may be metered by Us. Your Rate Plan may include a Data Access usage limit, such as 1 GB per billing cycle. We shall determine in our sole discretion what data usage constitutes Data Access and reserve the right to alter, make additions to or deletions to what type of data usage, or protocols, constitute Data Access without notification to you. Data Access may include, for example, multimedia steaming and video on demand services, as well as certain multimedia uploads, downloads and gaming services and applications. Uploads are data sessions where the data is transferred from your Wireless Device to some other computer or wireless device, while downloads are data sessions where the data is transferred from some other computer or wireless device to your Wireless Device. Depending on your Rate Plan, data sessions from MetroSTUDIO and the @metro store may not count against your Data Access limit. Data Access does not include any data services or uses which are prohibited by Us under this Agreement, such as in the MetroWEB Terms of Use.
This of course all raises a few neutrality flags, given they're murky on restrictions and are giving priority to their own Metro content. This is all made possible in part because MetroPCS offers only one smartphone right now and can shape the content experience to their heart's delight. MetroPCS has promised a handful of LTE smartphones later this year, and we'll be interested to see if they all suffer from this highly fractured Internet experience. While "$40 for LTE smartphone service" sounds nice, you're not really getting LTE Internet or a smartphone...you're getting LTE service at 3G speeds on a crippled device within a walled garden.

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mix

join:2002-03-19
Utica, MI

1 edit

Seems pretty clear to me...

All this says is that MetroPCS gets to determine what types of data get counted against your cap (1 GB in this example). So everything they say is unlimited (youtube for example), is unlimited, everything not specifically mentioned goes towards your 1 GB. Where is the mystery? I would just think of this as a 1 GB data plan with a few things that happen to be unlimited, like apparently watching youtube videos or accessing their online store.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:42

Re: Seems pretty clear to me...

What's the data consumption limit on the $40 plan?

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Seems pretty clear to me...

said by Karl Bode:

What's the data consumption limit on the $40 plan?

There is no cap on the $40 plan. But web access is thru the MetroWeb proxy and they limit what sites you have access to.

tiger72
SexaT duorP
Premium
join:2001-03-28
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:1

Re: Seems pretty clear to me...

Finally a perfect example of why Network Neutrality is necessary on wireless, just as it is on wireline.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Samsung Craft 4G feature phone not a real smartphone

It looks like they can easily control what you access by not offering(YET) a real user customizable smartphone. The Craft looks like a feature phone with MetroPCS deciding what you can and can not access thru it.

I'll bet when they offer a real Android smartphone with 4G capability you will have to buy the $60/mo real unlimited plan to use it.

Certainly looks like MetroPCS is going to make full use of the flexibility to ignore net neutrality restrictions that the recent FCC rules made available to wireless carriers.

KA3SGM
- -... ...- -
Premium
join:2006-01-17
West Chester, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Cricket Broadband
·Verizon FiOS

Metro PCS LTE IS A JOKE

They don't have any radio spectrum available to them to do anything serious with LTE.

LTE/LTE Advanced requires a dedicated 30-40MHz of radio spectrum.

Try and do decent LTE when you only have 10MHz, and you are also sharing it with your existing 1xRTT and EVDO network at the same time.

1xRTT requires 1.25MHz each way, thus 2.5MHz per channel.

EVDO is also 1.25 MHz each way, thus 2.5 MHz per channel.

Only 5 MHz left for LTE?????

They need 6x - 8x more radio spectrum to deploy any type of useful LTE, and they DON'T HAVE IT.

LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL.



ROTFLMFAO!!!!!
--
ROCK 'TIL SUNSET
borka

join:2003-04-01
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Metro PCS LTE IS A JOKE

so what is 4g web??

the way i understand it, 4g web should be ANY website?

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Metro PCS LTE IS A JOKE

said by borka:

so what is 4g web??

the way i understand it, 4g web should be ANY website?

The basic $40 plan only can access the web thru a proxy called MetroWeb and that only gives you access to SOME web sites:
»www.metropcs.com/products/metroweb/

The $50 plan gives you plain old straight web access to anything up to a 1GB cap

The $60 plan gives unlimited access to all web sites.

KA3SGM
- -... ...- -
Premium
join:2006-01-17
West Chester, PA
kudos:1
I'm on 10G already.

WiFi connected Android smart-phone, via 35/35 Verizon FiOS....

What's with this ONLY 4G crap????
--
ROCK 'TIL SUNSET

MalibuMaxx
Premium
join:2007-02-06
Chesterton, IN

Re: Metro PCS LTE IS A JOKE

I am glad you can stay within your 1000 ft range of you access point vs the range of a 4G tower your coverage is much greater...
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
They're using 1.4 MHz channels for LTE. Since LTE is more spectrally efficient than EvDO you'll get better data rates, but this is competitive with EvDO on other carriers, not HSPA/WiMAX/LTE.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY

disclosure:

the disclosure is THE LAW, according to new rules adopted by FCC.. but all that "glitters" in the wierless offerings isn't gold.. infact it can be quite brown & stinky

nice try, metro pcs

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Bye Bye open internet of innovation?

Click for full size
More and more this is becoming the reality
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: Bye Bye open internet of innovation?

Here's the thing: MetroPCS's $40 plan is cheaper than an unlimited voice + text + data plan from ANY other carrier. CricKet's $55 Android plan only includes 1GB of unthrottled data as well, so MetroPCS has them beat there too...

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Bye Bye open internet of innovation?

yes, metropcs is one of the cheapest, but i don't think any other carrier discriminate based on content/websites..
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Bye Bye open internet of innovation?

said by MxxCon:

yes, metropcs is one of the cheapest, but i don't think any other carrier discriminate based on content/websites..

They may not now, but they all came from that platform. They all came from metered plans, went unlimited, and many of them are talking about going back to a metered plan again. What makes you think that they'd like like to get back to walled garden plans as an entry option?

While I think limiting access to providers of web content that are available to the general web is stoopid to begin with. however, there is nothing to stop carriers of 'data' or data networks from making their first line offering be that of their own content portals.. and from there, the next step would be to start adding in "content powered by" (youtube, hulu, etc)

Drastic changes don't seem to happen any more, not since the day of AOL going from hourly billing to their so called unlimited use. Today, when they go one small step at a time, its much easier for them to change with out people noticing or caring, much.
theeinstein
Premium
join:2003-07-31
Fernandina Beach, FL

Metro

They do what they do well.. They don't pretend to be the fastest carrier like (AT&T caugh caugh...) They only portray to provide decent service at a great price without screwing you with USF (Verizon).. and pounding you in the a#$ with early term fees.. Long Live Metro!!
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Metro

I personally agree that metro is what metro is and they do what they do well. However, people with the microphone, such as on this site, cough cough, seem to feel that every carrier should be the same, you know, in the name of competition and "innovation".. by the way, what exactly IS innovation around here anyway? .. it seems to be what ever the powers that be, here, wants innovation to be.

I see innovation on many levels. I find MetroPCS to be innovative period. They are the ones that really started pushing out flat rate unlimited metro services to customers.. seemed to be a move in a direction that others (the big boys) have no followed. Seems innovative to me!

HOWEVER, now that they have pushed out (omg, say it) "4G" service, they're not innovating or offering something that people want.. yup! No one wants this stuff.. NONE of their very large customer base that continues to subscribe to their service wants or believes in what MetroPCS is offering.

However, people like Karl will continue to post and make Metro look bad for what they're doing.. you know, because they don't offer things like tethering, or air cards, and their speeds are 3G-ish. (I dunno, maybe they wanted to take the step from EVDO to the next step, but really aren't out to push out really fast speeds, however, the LTE investment made sense as far as a deployment)

Here ya go, guys.. if things like tethering, or data cards, or fast speeds mean something to you, then go to Sprint, ATT, or Verizon and TMO and have at it.. MetroPCS isn't for you.

By the way, isn't the carrier that claims to have the fastest speeds AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, AND T-Mobile?
theeinstein
Premium
join:2003-07-31
Fernandina Beach, FL

Re: Metro

Totally agree... If we strip away the greed for speed from LTE... the true reason Metro wants it in my opinion is penetration. That is one area their service suffered was building penetration.