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Leap Expanding AWS Phone Selection

3/27/2008 02:20:00 PM Eastern

San Diego — Leap Wireless is expanding its selection of cellphones that operate in the new 1.7/2.1GHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum with the launch Friday of two Samsung models in its Tulsa, Okla., stores.

Leap became the first carrier earlier this month to offer an AWS-banded phone when it began selling a $119 UTStarcom model in Tulsa. The Samsung models are priced at $119 and $149. All models are CDMA 1x EV-DO models that also operate in Leap’s 1.9GHz spectrum and in 850MHz spectrum.

The phones will be available “soon” in all Cricket markets nationwide, the carrier said. Although Leap (www.leapwireless.com) hadn’t issued a timetable for launching AWS service, the company plans to turn on AWS spectrum in new markets “soon” to complement its 1.9GHz markets. Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis and Las Vegas will be among the first AWS markets it expects to launch. The company and its joint ventures operate in 23 states and hold licenses in 35 of the top 50 U.S. markets.

One of the Samsung phones, the $149 MyShot, is the first AWS-banded phone with camera, a 1.3- megapixel model with self-timer and multishot capabilities. Other features include Bluetooth and Web browsing; downloadable ringtones, graphics, games and applications; text and picture messaging capabilities; speakerphone; and personal tools such as calendar, clock and calculator.

The $119 Samsung Spex features a sleek design, color display, speakerphone, and personal tools such as calendar and memo pad. It also supports Leap services such as text messaging and Web browsing, as well as downloadable ringtones, graphics, games and apps.

With plans starting as low as $35/month, Cricket provides unlimited wireless calling plans on a prepaid basis.

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