MetroPCS may be one of the smaller, third tier service providers, but that doesn't mean we should discount them too quickly, because their status might change very quickly. They just launched the first Voice-Over-LTE (VoLTE) Network in the United States, and they already have a phone to go with it, the LG Connect 4G (which is actually a rebranded LG Viper).

Just in case you may not be familiar with VoLTE, here's a brief summation of the technology. VoLTE is a fairly new technology. It really hasn't been possible until about a year ago. This was when carriers finally started switching to the more advanced and speedier LTE networks. It basically routes your calls across the enhanced LTE data networks, instead of the old-style (CDMA and GSM) "fuzzy networks."

The promise of VoLTE is improved, crystal-clear call quality as well as better reception and greater reliability. It really is a revolutionary new technology, and it is surprising that it wasn't one of the Big Three that launched it first. Could this be the first rise of a new big player in the market?

Here's the press release,

DALLAS, Aug. 7, 2012 — MetroPCS Communications, Inc. PCS -1.37% today reached another innovation milestone by announcing the world’s first commercial launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, availability of the world’s first VoLTE-capable handsets and the first sale of a VoLTE-capable handset at one of the company’s Dallas/Fort Worth store locations. MetroPCS is selling the new VoLTE-capable LG Connect 4G Android(TM) smartphone at select U.S. stores and will continue to roll out VoLTE services and phones in the coming weeks.

“Being the first operator globally to reach this industry first speaks volumes about our company’s innovative spirit and passion to achieve goals that we believe will have long-term benefit for our customers and for the company,” said Roger Linquist, chairman and chief executive officer of MetroPCS. “The initial move to LTE and this move to VoLTE allow us to achieve significant spectral efficiencies and will increase network capacity so that we can enhance the 4G LTE experience that our customers have today at a tremendous value. VoLTE also provides a foundational capability for future Rich Communication Services (RCS), which we plan to launch later this year.”

The addition of VoLTE capabilities to MetroPCS’ 4G LTE handsets will be transparent to consumers as they continue to enjoy all the voice and 4G LTE data services with which they are already familiar. Calls to and from the handset will use VoLTE, regardless of the handset or network used on the other end of the call.

MetroPCS was the first U.S. carrier to deploy a commercial 4G LTE network in September 2010 and has since built out its 4G LTE network to cover roughly 90 percent of its CDMA footprint.

For more information, please visit: Details on rate plans and service features: Plans - MetroPCS MetroPCS Terms and Conditions of Service: Press resources: Unlimited Wireless Service - MetroPCS Follow MetroPCS on Twitter: MetroPCS Inc. (MetroPCS) on Twitter Become a fan of MetroPCS on Facebook: MetroPCS | Facebook View MetroPCS’ latest videos: MetroPCS - YouTube

About MetroPCS Communications, Inc.

Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications, Inc. PCS -1.37% is a provider of no annual contract, unlimited wireless communications service for a flat rate. MetroPCS is the fifth largest facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States based on number of subscribers served. With Metro USA(SM), MetroPCS customers can use their service in areas throughout the United States covering a population of over 280 million people. As of June 30, 2012, MetroPCS had approximately 9.3 million subscribers. For more information please visit MetroPCS .

SOURCE MetroPCS Communications, Inc.