Diego – Prepaid carrier Leap Wireless launched its first 4G LTE market and
began offering a 4G LTE USB modem from Hauwei.
carrier turned on LTE in the Tuscon, Ariz. area and plans to expand service to
nearby Nogales, Ariz. in 2012. The carrier, which sells under the Cricket
Communications brand, hasn’t announced a timeline for LTE expansion beyond that.
carrier operates its 3G CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A network in 66 markets in 35 states
and has a reseller agreement with Sprint to offer service under the Cricket
brand in all 50 states. Leap also has a roaming agreement with
LightSquared, which plans to build a terrestrial- and satellite-based 4G LTE
network, to expand LTE service to markets outside of the 66 markets in which it
operates its own network.
cellphones will likely come to the Cricket network sometime in mid to late 2012
“when prices come within the range of our customers,” a spokesman said of the
carrier’s prepaid service, which offers unsubsidized phones but subsidizes
during special promotions.
carrier’s LTE USB model is the $149-suggested Huawei Boltz, available through Cricket’s
company-owned stores. Consumers can select from two 4G LTE monthly service
plans, each providing up to 5GB of data per month. The $50 plan offers download
speeds of up to 3Mbps, and the $60 plan offers download speeds up to 6Mbps. The
speeds range from five to 10 times faster than Cricket’s current 3G data
speeds, the carrier said.
Boltz operates in LTE mode in Cricket’s AWS spectrum and in 3G mode in the
carrier’s AWS and 1900MHz bands. The modem features assisted GPS, USB 2.0
configuration, and microSD slot supporting 32GB cards.