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Cricket Begins Music Downloads

Cricket Communications has become the latest cellular carrier, and the first prepaid carrier, to offer over-the-air downloads of music.

Cricket, a Leap Wireless subsidiary, offers unlimited-use prepaid calling plans designed to replace landline phone service in a home.

Consumers can use a Cricket phone to search for songs by title, artist, album, song and genre and download them over the air to their phone for $1.99/song. Consumers can also opt for three download credits for a $5 monthly charge. An additional data plan isn’t needed to download songs via Cricket phones’ Web browser.

Over-the-air downloads are in the protected AAC+ format and are locked to the handset on which they are downloaded, the company said.

Songs are also available online for PC downloads at for 99 cents each. Downloads to the PC are in protected WMA format and cannot be side-loaded to Cricket handsets, which are not WMA-compatible, but side-loads to one WMA-compatible device are allowed.

Consumers can also use Cricket’s Music Manager PC software to buy two copies of a song, one for their PC and one for over-the-air download to the phone, at a combined cost of $2.25/song.

To download songs over the air, consumers need select CDMA 1x EV-DO 3G handsets with integrated music player, AAC playback and memory card slot. Compatible phones include the Motorola Rokr, Krzr, Slvr and Razr2 as well as the Samsung JetSet, r610 and r500.