Today's a big day for Cricket and its parent company Leap Wireless, as the carrier has announced that it's chosen this fine Wednesday to flip the switch on its LTE network. Cricket's first LTE network is now live in Tucson, Ariz., covering over 90 percent of Cricket's footprint in the city with a 4G signal. This launch is just the beginning of Cricket's multi-year transition from 3G to 4G, and the company says that it plans to expand its LTE network to the nearby town of Nogales early next year.
As far as LTE-capable devices go, Cricket is now offering the Huawei Boltz, a 3G/4G USB modem. The Boltz is priced at $149.99 and packs a microSD card slot and support for both Windows and Mac. Plan pricing for the modem is set at $50 per month for 5GB of data with speeds of up to 3Mbps or $60 per month for 5GB of data with speeds of up to 6Mbps.
Sounds pretty exciting, right? Sure, it'd be nice to see some LTE-enabled handsets as well, but we'll likely begin to see those arrive as Cricket expands its 4G network next year. There's no word yet on when we can expect more markets to gain Cricket LTE coverage or which ones might be next in line, but you can bet that we'll update you as we hear more. The full presser from Leap is down below.
Leap's Cricket Service Begins Network Transition to 4G LTE with First Commercial Market Launch in Tucson, Arizona
- Huawei Boltz USB Modem Cricket's First LTE Device -
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP), the parent company of Cricket Communications, Inc., a leading provider of innovative and value-driven wireless communications services, today announced the beginning of its transition to 4G LTE with a commercial market launch in its Tucson, Ariz. Cricket market. The launch marks the beginning of the Company's planned, multi-year transition of its existing high-quality 3G network to 4G LTE.
"The introduction of Cricket 4G LTE in Tucson as our first commercial market is an early milestone in our transition to LTE that will allow us to continue to offer our customers high-quality products and services with the latest technology at the value price they've come to expect," said Doug Hutcheson, president and CEO of Leap. "Cricket is the leader in providing the best value in the wireless industry. That leadership comes from introducing new products and services, like LTE, in a thoughtful manner and on a timeline that is appropriate for our value conscious customers."
4G LTE is the fastest most advanced network technology in America delivering data at incredibly fast speeds. In pre-launch speed tests conducted in the Tucson market, Cricket's 4G speeds ranged from 5 to 10 times faster than current 3G data speeds. More than 90 percent of Cricket's Tucson market footprint will be covered by the new 4G LTE network and further expansion is planned for nearby Nogales, Ariz. in 2012.
At launch, 4G LTE service will be accessible via mobile broadband services and the Cricket's first 4G LTE device, the Huawei Boltz (E 397) modem, will be available for $149.99 (MSRP) at Cricket's company-owned stores. Cricket's LTE device roadmap is expected to grow steadily from modems to smartphones and ultimately other devices such as tablets. Tucson customers 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 Huawei Boltz, Cricket's first 4G LTE modem, features a lightweight, sleek design. Its integrated installation software allows quick and easy set-up, the modem has a hinge and pivots to any USB 2.0 configuration and has a microSD slot for up to 32GB additional memory storage. The Boltz is backwards compatible with Cricket 3G networks for use in non-4G Cricket markets.
Huawei Boltz Features
4G: LTE AWS Band Class 15 Bandwidth 1.4MHz, 3MHz, 5MHz
3G: CDMA 1x & EVDO BC1 & BC15 (1900 & AWS)
Windows XP SP2/SP3, Window Vista SP1/SP2 (32 & 64 Bit), Windows 7 (32 & 64 bit)
Mac OS 10.5 to 10.6 with latest updates (32 & 64 bit), 10.7 (32 & 64 *
Micro USB (High Speed)
microSD™ (supports up to 32GB)
(H) 4" x (W) 2.2" x (D) .60"
Monthly Rate Plans:
$50 Plan – 5GB of data with speeds up to 3Mbps
$60 Plan – 5GB of data with speeds up to 6Mbps
Leap provides innovative, high-value wireless services to a young and ethnically diverse customer base. With the value of unlimited wireless services as the foundation of its business, Leap pioneered its Cricket service. Cricket products and services are available nationwide through company-owned stores, dealers, national retailers and at MyCricket.com. Through its affordable, flat-rate service plans, Cricket offers customers a choice of unlimited voice, text, data and mobile Web services. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Leap is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "LEAP." For more information, please visit www.leapwireless.com.
SOURCE Leap Wireless International, Inc.