San Diego - Leap's Cricket brand of cellular service is returning to Target, this time on a nationwide basis, as part of a major retail expansion launched last year, the prepaid carrier announced.
Two 3G smartphones with Cricket service will appear in almost 1,600 Target stores nationwide beginning Sunday, April 22. Target's cellular operations are run by RadioShack.
The Android smartphones are the $99-suggested Samsung Vitality and $69 ZTE Score, both available with Cricket's Muve Music service, which provides unlimited song downloads, ringtones, and ringback tones. All music is listenable as long as the user subscribes to Cricket service.
Muve Music is part a $55/month plan that includes nationwide calling, mobile video, data back-up, 411 assistance, unlimited 3G mobile data, and unlimited text, picture, and video messaging.
In 2009, the prepaid carrier embarked on a drive to expand distribution 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 later left Target.
In 2011, 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. Soon after the Best Buy expansion, Dollar General and Walmart expanded Leap sales to stores in all 50 states. And late last year, Amazon picked up Cricket.