The prepaid carrier's coverage, however, won't be as wide as the LTE deployment by Verizon Wireless, which is due to be introduced in 25 to 30 major U.S. cities by the end of the year.
Samsung is also likely to be first with an LTE smartphone, too -- its SCH-r900, which was announced in March at the CTIA Wireless show. Verizon, which plans to introduce its service with data cards and USB modems, isn't expected to have handsets until next year, although users likely will be able to make voice calls over Skype.
The SCH-r900 is likely to be called the Craft when the service debuts. Ericsson also has been working on LTE handsets for MetroPCS.
In spite of all the hoopla over the LTE launch race in the U.S., an LTE network is already well established in Scandinavia. Carrier TeliaSonera debuted its LTE service in Stockholm and Oslo late last year. Ericsson provided the infrastructure in Stockholm and Huawei Technologies in Oslo. TeliaSonera is deploying the LTE service in 25 Swedish cities and three Norwegian cities.
Verizon plans to roll out its LTE service in one fell swoop in more than 25 U.S. cities – reportedly in November -- and to gradually cover the country by 2015. At least five handset manufacturers have said they plan to have LTE devices ready early for the Verizon network next year.