T-Mobile Adds 15 MetroPCS Cities to Vie With AT&T, Leap

T-Mobile US Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier, is expanding its MetroPCS service to 15 new cities, including 13 in rival Leap Wireless International Inc.’s territory.

T-Mobile, which acquired MetroPCS this year, is now selling service under the company’s brand on its faster, long-term evolution network. The expansion comes after AT&T Inc. started offering LTE service to its GoPhone prepaid customers last month. AT&T agreed to buy Leap, which like MetroPCS offers pay-as-you-go subscriptions, earlier this month for $1.2 billion.

“This gets us into those Leap markets now, arriving months in advance of AT&T,” said MetroPCS Chief Operating Officer Tom Keys. The new cities include Baltimore, Houston and Seattle.

T-Mobile decided after its merger to keep the MetroPCS brand and continue operating stores separately. Instead of integrating the two carriers’ incompatible networks, T-Mobile is selling the MetroPCS service with phones that work on T-Mobile’s network.

MetroPCS offers plans starting at $40 a month with unlimited calling and texting. High-speed Internet access is capped at 500 megabits, shifting to slower speeds after that allotment is reached. AT&T’s GoPhone offer has a $40 plan with a 200-megabit cap.

MetroPCS will open 1,000 new stores this year, said T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert. “We are going into dense, urban areas,” he said. “’This is a big part of our strategy.”

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