San Diego - Carrier Leap Wireless, which sells prepaid cellular service under the Cricket brand, is continuing to expand its distribution with the launch of feature phones and Android smartphones through Amazon.
The carrier embarked on a drive to expand distribution beginning in 2009 when it added its first national retailers. The retailers -- Best Buy, Walmart, Dollar General and Target -- sold Leap service in the 65 markets in which Leap operated its own network.
In those markets, the prepaid carrier previously sold its services and phones only through company-owned stores, Cricket-branded stores owned by third parties, and indirect retailers, mainly independent wireless specialists. The company is no longer in Target.
A few months ago, Cricket again expanded its distribution after reaching a reseller agreement with Sprint, enabling Best Buy to offer Cricket-branded phones in markets where Leap did not operate, a Leap spokesman said. Best Buy is offering Leap in 47 states.
Soon after the Best Buy expansion, Dollar General expanded Leap sales to stores in all 50 states.
Through Amazon, Leap is currently offering one feature phone and two Android phones, which come with Leap's unlimited over-the-air music download service called Muve Music. Unlimited downloads are included in a $55/month prepaid plan that also provides unlimited nationwide calling; unlimited nationwide text, picture and video messaging; unlimited 3G mobile web; unlimited video; and data backup. The music downloads include full songs, ringtones and ringback tones.
Downloaded music is playable for as long as the user has a Cricket subscription, and all songs are locked via SanDisk technology to an included 4GB memory card. The service features a catalog of millions of songs from the four major record labels.
The feature phone currently available through Amazon is the Huawei Pillar, which will be joined by the ZTE Chorus, Kyocera Domino and Samsung Chrono. The feature phones will be available on the recently announced Cricket PayGo service plans at $25 and $35/month. Both plans include unlimited text, picture and video messaging and unlimited mobile web. The $25 plan includes 300 minutes of U.S. calling per month, and the $35 plan includes 1,000 minutes of U.S. calling.