MetroPCS's LTE Service Tested, Found Wanting

Words like Wimax, 4G, and LTE have been thrown around for quite some time now. These are technologies being developed to power faster mobile broadband services of the future. Though Verizon is usually associated with LTE, MetroPCS happens to be the the first U.S. cellphone carrier with an LTE handset and service on the market. The carrier's LTE plan runs around $60 per month and includes unlimited voice, text, 4G web access, and 4G video demand.

But is MetroPC's service everything we've hoped for fro LTE? Our friend Kevin Tofel of GigaOM had a change to test out the network with a Samsung Craft phone and share his observations.

So far the results aren't promising. Using the HTML mobile speedtest page of DSLReports, Tofel reported an average download speed of 700 kpbs with 200 milliseconds of latency. No buffering was experienced when playing low-quality YouTube videos. He writes:

The MetroPCS LTE network is also far slower than T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network I’ve been using most of this year; it’s not uncommon for my phone, which isn’t capable of full HSPA+ speeds, to see downloads in the 4 Mbps range, or roughly six times faster than LTE on MetroPCS.

We're disappointed by Tofel's results, but look forward to seeing how LTE will perform when Verizon starts rolling it out in the next few weeks .  The speeds Tofel experienced are low compared to what other carriers are offering fromon their 3G networks. However, MetroPCS, which doesn't offer a 3G option for their handsets and sells its service for just $55 a month, probably isn't using the best LTE technology.

via GigaOM