LTE's not just a big boy's game, it turns out -- regional carrier MetroPCS has been tooting the 4G horn for the better part of the year, too, and they're starting to detail how they plan for it to go down. On the back end, Ericsson equipment will oversee the operation, while the company's inaugural LTE phone will come courtesy of Samsung (why are we not surprised?) in a dual-mode configuration with support for both CDMA and LTE on board. That makes good sense considering that MetroPCS' (and Verizon's) LTE footprint will be a mere drop in the bucket compared to its CDMA one for the foreseeable future -- but what's surprising is that they expect to have it ready in "late 2010." That's incredibly aggressive for an LTE phone since Verizon (and most manufacturers) are making no secret of the fact that modems are the initial focus, not phones, a philosophy further evidenced by the fact that an LTE voice standard still hasn't been established. It'll be really interesting to see what form the phone takes and how voice will be handled -- there's a proposal for routing voice over legacy CDMA on the table, so it's definitely a possibility here, especially considering the phone will have CDMA on board anyway.

[Via Phone Scoop]

Update: MetroPCS has told Phone Scoop that it plans on rocking VoIP via LTE rather than using its existing CDMA infrastructure for voice, which is a pretty interesting play -- let's just hope they settle on a standard rather than trying to roll their own tech.

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MetroPCS commits to offering dual-mode LTE handset from Samsung next year