MetroPCS Communications Inc. (PCS), one of the leading prepaid telecom carriers in the U.S. has launched a 4G smartphone – Spirit 4G. Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android based Spirit 4G by LG Electronic is available at $199 plus tax with no contract. For 4G services, customers can team up their smartphone with MetroPCS’ affordable 4G plans starting at $40. We believe the company’s effort to boost its LTE services with new offers and product launches garners significant market traction, driving market penetration and revenue growth.
Earlier this month, MetroPCS reported net subscriber loss of 93,237, a steep drop from the year-ago gain of 197,410 subscribers. Stiff competition at the high-end smartphone market that remains dominated by large players is mainly responsible for the shrinking customer base. High-end devices like Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy series are mostly availed through tiered contracts at cheaper rates with giant sellers like AT&T, Inc. (T).
As a result, it becomes important for the company to introduce competitive products that can address the present need of its target market. Although, the company does not market Apple products, it has set a line-up for the popular Android-based devices.
In 2011, the company launched it ambitious project “Android for All” program that increased smartphone penetration to 50% of its total subscriber base. In August 2012, MetroPCS launched LG Connect 4G Android smartphone, representing the first-ever launch of VoLTE (Voice over LTE) enabled 4G LTE smartphone globally.
The company aims to deliver spectrum efficiency by shifting its customers to the VoLTE service. This move would increase network capacity and boost free spectrum, leading to enhanced 4G experience.
Further, MetroPCS also forayed into the live mobile TV market with the launch of Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G. The phone is enabled with Dyle application that enables users to watch live shows through a broadcast television signal. The company’s mobile TV services are branded as Dyle Mobile TV. The company expects to cover Dyle Mobile TV in 32 markets, including major hubs like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Texas, Detroit, Dallas, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, with 72 stations and 50% coverage of its subscriber base over the near term.
We believe the advanced 4G LTE network, cost effective 4G devices and affordable 4G service plans will remain the key drivers for MetroPCS’ near-term prospects. The company has already deployed high-speed 4G LTE services in most of its major markets and covered 97% of its market with a 5x5 megahertz channel bandwidth.
MetroPCS has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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