Leap Wireless To Tap More National Chains


San Diego - Cellular carrier Leap Wireless will partner with more national retailers with new, exclusive service plans in the coming weeks, bringing its roster of national retailers to four from two, the company announced.

Leap offers Cricket-branded flat-rate prepaid services over its CDMA 1x EV-DO network in 34 states, where consumers prepay for unlimited Cricket service for a month at a time or for a day at a time with no contract or credit check.

Earlier this year, the carrier tapped its first two national retailers, Walmart and Dollar General, which offer the carrier's PayGo plans. With PayGo, consumers pay in advance for one or more days of usage at a time. Previously, the company sold its prepaid services and phones only through company-owned stores, Cricket-branded stores owned by third parties, and indirect retailers, mainly independent wireless specialists.

With its stepped-up national-retail commitment, Leap will add two new flat-rate monthly phone-based plans to the Walmart and Dollar General offerings. In addition, two more as-yet-unnamed chains will begin offering PayGo, PayGo top-up cards and the two monthly phone plans. The new phone-based plans will be availably only through the four chains, one of which will exclusively sell a new data-only plan for use with a USB wireless modem.

With the additional chains, Cricket will offer services through about 3,500 stores operated by national chains, up from a current 2,500. The additional chains and services will go live during the next several weeks within the company's footprint.

The two new monthly plans at $40 and $45 will be available exclusively through the national retailers. The $40 plan includes unlimited talk and U.S. long distance from within Leap's footprint, domestic and international text and picture messaging, and free roaming in Cricket's premium extended calling area, which consists of 4,600 cities and towns serviced through roaming partners. The Premium calling area effectively extends the reach of Leap's network.

The $45 plan adds unlimited mobile Web and directory assistance. Both plans include all fees and telecom taxes, voice mail, call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling over Cricket's network.

A new $50/month Cricket-brand data-modem service will be available exclusively through almost 1,000 outlets operated by one of the new chains. The new plan will include all fees and taxes for unlimited Internet access through a$69.99 Cricket A600 modem no activation fee. A $50 top-up card will also be available for the modem.

"These new products are customized, cost-efficient and channel-differentiated," said Leap COO Al Moschner. "Our experience over the last year in national retail with our daily PayGo product has given us confidence to undertake this strategic and broad-based move, which we believe will introduce our products to additional customers."


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