Dallas — AT&T's acquisition of prepaid wireless provider Leap Wireless has been completed.
AT&T said in the coming weeks Leap's Cricket brand will be integrated with AT&T’s existing operations to create the new Cricket, which the company promised "will shake up the no-contract segment with a combination of simple, low-cost rate plans; a terrific lineup of smartphones; and a great network experience."
The new Cricket will have access to AT&T’s nationwide 4G LTE network covering nearly 280 million people while AT&T will gain access to Cricket’s distribution channels and will be able to expand Cricket’s presence to additional U.S. cities.
Cricket’s network currently covers approximately 97 million people in 35 U.S. states, and Cricket has 4.57 million customers. Customer migrations are expected to be completed approximately 18 months after the launch of the new Cricket.
In addition to Cricket’s operations, AT&T also acquired spectrum in the PCS and AWS bands, covering nearly 138 million people. This spectrum is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing spectrum holdings and includes unutilized spectrum covering 41 million people.
AT&T said it will immediately begin to put the unutilized spectrum to use to support 4G LTE services for its customers. The additional spectrum will provide additional capacity and enhance network performance for customers using smartphones and other mobile Internet devices, the company said.
The Federal Communications Commission approved the transaction within its 180-day review clock. AT&T will update its full-year 2014 guidance to reflect the impact of this transaction when it announces first-quarter 2014 results on April 22.
The new Cricket will be an independently operated, wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T.
Leap will be delisted from the Nasdaq.