MetroPCS Launches World's First Rich Communication Services for LTE

MetroPCS was first to LTE, and a day after announcing record third-quarter revenue, it is the first to launch Rich Communication Services on an LTE network.

MetroPCS was the first U.S. carrier to launch a Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network, and on Oct. 31, it announced the added distinction of being the first in the world to launch Rich Communication Services (RCS) on a 4G LTE network.

Deployed under the GSMA-licensed Joyn brand and the RCS 5.0 standard, the technology will deliver an experience beyond voice and basic messaging, MetroPCS said in a statement, providing a "unified and intuitive way to use enriched services like integrated instant messaging or chat, WiFi and video calling and simplified content sharing."

Joyn by MetroPCS services will include:

  • Contacts Presence, a way of showing users how they can reach and share content with their contacts, including those in their social networks;
  • Enriched Chat, which includes threaded conversations showing who said what and which people or groups are available to chat or share content;
  • Content Sharing, enabling users to share video, images and files while on a call or within an instant message or chat; and
  • WiFi and Video Calling, for connecting users with voice and video calls where there's little or no cellular coverage. This includes video calls over WiFi.

These services will be supported by Joyn-enabled smartphones, which for now, within the MetroPCS portfolio, means with the Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G. Owners of the Attain can download the Joyn application from the Google Play store or @metro App Store as of Oct. 31.

"We believe RCS is a tremendous differentiator among prepaid and postpaid competitors alike and recognize that achieving interoperability across U.S. 4G LTE networks is the next key step to paving the way for more innovative services and capabilities in the future," MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist said in a statement.

MetroPCS' future also includes a partnership with T-Mobile. On Oct. 3, the pair announced that the boards of each had approved of a merger between them. The new, combined company will have about 42.5 million subscribers and $24.8 billion in revenue. T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom (DT) will hold a 74 percent share in the venture to MetroPCS' 26 percent.

"The new company will be the value leader in wireless with the scale, spectrum, and financial and other resources to expand its geographic coverage, broaden choice amongst all types of customers and continue to innovate, especially around the next-generation LTE network," DT CEO Rene Obermann said in a statement.

MetroPCS announced Oct. 30 that during its third quarter it saw revenue double to a record high and enjoyed a $53 million boost from a securities settlement.

"As we enter the fourth quarter, our 4G LTE For All efforts are in full swing, and with over 1 million 4G LTE subscribers at the end of the third quarter, we believe we are well-positioned to meet the current demands for high-speed wireless broadband service," said Linquist.

During the fourth quarter, he added, MetroPCS plans to focus on re-energizing its subscriber growth.

"With a robust 4G LTE handset lineup that is growing, we believe our 4G LTE For All initiative provides unmatched value, with all taxes and regulatory fees included," he added.