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MetroPCS Launches Galaxy S4, Adds Four New GSM Markets

As they hinted last week on social media, MetroPCS has now officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4. The new flagship is a GSM phone running on T-Mobile's GSM/HSPA+/LTE network.  Metro merged with T-Mobile in May and has announced plans to shut down its CDMA based network in 2015 and move customers to the T-Mobile network.

I was hoping that the S4 launch would open up MetroPCS GSM nationwide, but that didn't happen. Instead GSM availability has been expanded to four more markets; New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Atlanta. That brings the total number of MetroPCS  GSM markets to eight. GSM has been available in Boston, Dallas - Fort Worth, Hartford CT and Las Vegas since June 12.

If you are in one of the eight GSM markets, you can pick up a new Samsung Galaxy S4 for $549.99 at a MetroPCS store. If that's too rich for your blood, four other MetroPCS GSM phones are also available:

All the GSM phones are currently only available in stores, not online. If you already have a compatible GSM phone, Metro stores in the eight GSM markets can also set you up with a SIM card. 

Reportedly, Metro needs to add your GSM device's IMEI serial number to a database before it will work with the SIM. That means every time you want to switch devices you need to go to a MetroPCS store to connect the new device to the database. This negates one of the major advantages of GSM, the ability to easily switch devices by swapping the SIM from one phone to another. I suspect this limitation is intended to keep people from selling activated MetroPCS  SIMs outside of official GSM markets. If that's the case, I expect the requirement to go to a store to swap GSM phones will be eliminated once MetroPCS GSM goes nationwide.

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  1. Replies
    1. Probably to avoid swamping the provisioning system and to train MetroPCS store employees in the new system.

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  2. Dennis, since this topic hasn't gotten too many comments, I hope you won't mind me going off-topic here to suggest an article.

    Could you write something about the alphabet soup of LTE, HSPA (sometimes with "+"), etc.? Some of your readers, or at least me, are still confused about what these things are, who offers what, etc. Sure there are some online resources available, but your writing has a clarity that would make it more understandable to the layman. Just a suggestion. Thanks.

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  3. Hi dennis. I live in bay area. Can i buy metropcs phoneto use on tmobile? Metropcs phones are cheaper than tmobile price. Also, metro and simple are cheaper than tmobile, what are the downsides? And what is the feature difference between tmobile prepajd and postpaid?

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    Replies
    1. The MetroPCS GSM phones are available at Bay Area MetroPCS stores. Availability is limited so call stores first.

      I don't know if the Metro GSM phones will work on T-Mobile. Technically they should but they could be locked to prevent use on T-Mobile.

      When you buy a phone at a MetroPCS store you have to pay an activation fee and pay for a month's service so it's really not cost effective if you are planning to use the phone on T-Mobile.

      The main difference between Metro or Simple and T-Mobile is that T-Mobile has no extra cost off-network voice and text only roaming, Metro/Simple don't have any roaming.

      Advantages of T-Mobile postpaid over prepaid include, better customer service, data roaming and voice roaming in more area

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