story on PhoneNews.com, MetroPCS is shutting down the MetroFLASH program that allowed users to use phones from other CDMA carriers on MetroPCS. I believe the article is based on a post on Howard Forums by the MetroPCS sub-forum's moderator.
I suspect the change is for real, but I'm not entirely convinced as MetroPCS hasn't announced the shutdown publicly and is still promoting the service on its website. I asked three local MetroPCS dealers that were listed in Metro's dealer locator as performing the service. Two of the three said they no longer performed the service but all three told me it was still available from other dealers.
Although MetroFlash had its problems, it was one of the few available CDMA Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. I'm a big fan of BYOD because it empowers consumers by making it possible to use the phone they own or want on the carrier they prefer and because it makes it easier and less costly to switch between carriers. Both of which encourage competition between carriers on price and quality of service rather than who has the latest and greatest handset.
MetroFLASH never worked all that well for a couple of reasons. Most non-MetroPCS phones don't support the AWS band used in a few Metro markets. A bigger issue was that the software and instructions that MetroPCS provided to dealers did not configure the phones' data and MMS settings, so data and picture messaging did not work.
In spite of its flaws, MetroFLASH is, or was, the only official supported way to to provision a non-MetroPCS phone on the service. Plenty of technically savvy users and dealers know how to properly complete the process of configuring a MetroFLASHed phone so that everything, including data works. But only MetroFlash could perform the required step of adding a non-MetroPCS phone's ESN (Electronic Serial Number) to the carrier's database. For that reason it will be missed.