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A roundup of the latest high-tech news from The Associated Press:
• MetroPCS to launch 4G phone before Verizon
NEW YORK — MetroPCS Communications Inc. plans to be the first wireless carrier to introduce a phone using a new network technology that provides faster data access. It’s beating Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest carrier.
Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday that it’s supplying a phone for MetroPCS’ rollout of a wireless technology known as Long Term Evolution, or LTE, starting with cities including Las Vegas in the second half of this year.
Both MetroPCS and Verizon are planning to use LTE, a so-called fourth-generation, or "4G," wireless technology. Verizon estimates that it will provide data speeds roughly ten times faster than today’s "3G" networks, and that figure will rise as the technology matures.
Verizon is planning to launch LTE in 25 to 30 cities before the end of the year, but the first devices available for it will be laptop modems, with phones coming next year.
Samsung provided no details on its phone for MetroPCS, so it’s unclear if the LTE capability will yield benefits beyond faster Web surfing and movie downloads.
MetroPCS, a Dallas-based carrier that targets customers of modest means, had 6.6 million subscribers at the end of last year, making it the fifth-largest carrier in the country. By contrast, Verizon has 91.2 million subscribers and nationwide coverage.
On Tuesday, Sprint Nextel Corp. announced that its first 4G phone will be out this summer. The phone will have a front-facing camera to encourage video calling — one way to exploit the faster 4G speeds.
Sprint isn’t using LTE but a rival 4G technology called WiMax. It’s been available for a few years, but most carriers have opted to wait for LTE instead.
AT&T Inc. is planning to start a build-out of LTE next year. In the meantime, it’s focusing on increasing the speeds of its existing 3G network.
• French police detain alleged Twitter hacker
PARIS — A 25-year-old who allegedly hacked the Twitter accounts of numerous well-known figures, including Britney Spears and President Barack Obama, has been detained, French police said Wednesday.
The suspect, who goes by the online pseudonym "Hacker Croll," was caught following a joint operation with the FBI and detained for questioning Tuesday in the Puy-de-Dome region of central France, they said.
Police say the FBI contacted them after discovering in July that someone had managed to get access to confidential information after hacking into the Twitter system and passing for an administrator. The suspect then posted some information online, police said.
The suspect, whose real name was not released, had a history of minor Internet-related infractions, police said. Based on his initial statements, it was the challenge, not money, that motivated him, they said.
Korben.info, a French Web site on new media, reported on July 14, 2009 that it had been contacted by "Hacker Croll," who said he had managed to access e-mails of Twitter employees including those of co-founder Evan Williams and his wife.
• Former Samsung chairman Lee returns to top post
SEOUL, South Korea — Lee Kun-hee, the former chairman of Samsung Electronics convicted of tax evasion and later pardoned by South Korea’s president, has returned to lead the company after a nearly two-year absence.
The 68-year-old Lee, a South Korean corporate icon, was indicted in April 2008 and resigned from his post before being found guilty, fined and given a suspended three-year prison sentence. Lee, who was also convicted of breach of trust, fought on appeal to overturn the convictions but failed.
Speculation that Lee would make a comeback increased after he received a special amnesty from President Lee Myung-bak in December last year. The pardon was given to allow the billionaire business magnate to rejoin South Korea’s efforts to host the Winter Olympics after the country failed twice to bring them to PyeongChang, a mountain resort east of Seoul.