The new Cricket Wireless officially launched service on AT&T's nationwide 4G LTE network, which covers more than 280 million Americans.
Cricket targets pre-paid, value-conscious consumers. No-contract, unlimited voice/text/data plans start at $35 a month after a $5 credit for using auto pay.
“We kept the Cricket brand name, but one thing is certain, we are stepping up our game. We are giving no-contract consumers the value they have been waiting for,” said Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of Cricket Wireless. “Now new Cricket customers can enjoy great prices, popular phones, loyalty rewards, and friendly service on a reliable nationwide 4G LTE network. The new Cricket has more 4G LTE coverage than Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS, period.”
Leap built a 3G CDMA network, as well as a 4G LTE network covering 21 million people across 35 states. The company serves about 5 million prepaid mobile users under the Cricket brand. It currently ranks as the fifth largest mobile operator in the U.S. Its network currently covers approximately 97 million people in 35 U.S. states, and Cricket had 4.57 million customers as of February 28, 2014. Customer migrations are expected to be completed approximately 18 months after the launch of the new Cricket.
The deal would include all of Leap’s stock and wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 5 million subscribers.
When the merger closed, AT& said it plans to integrate Cricket with its existing operations to create the "new Cricket" for the pre-paid market -- featuring a combination of simple, low-cost rate plans and smartphones.
In addition to Cricket’s operations, AT&T also acquired spectrum in the PCS and AWS bands covering nearly 138 million people. This spectrum is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing spectrum holdings and includes unutilized spectrum covering 41 million people. AT&T will immediately begin to put the unutilized spectrum to use to support 4G LTE services for its customers. This additional spectrum will provide additional capacity and enhance network performance for customers using smartphones and other mobile Internet devices.