AT&T completes Leap Wireless acquisition, Aio and Cricket to be combined to form 'the new Cricket'

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| March 14, 2014

AT&T announcing...

That didn't take long at all. Less than a day after the FCC approved AT&T's proposed acquisition of Leap Wireless, owner of Cricket Wireless, the deal between the two companies has closed. 

Now that the deal is done, AT&T and Leap will begin integrating Cricket into AT&T's business. The new Cricket, which will replace AT&T's Aio Wireless prepaid brand, will have access to AT&T's 4G LTE network. Existing Cricket and Aio customers can keep using their devices and plans. Once the integration is complete, Cricket customers will be able to visit a retail store to pick out a new handset and rate plan that will be compatible with AT&T's LTE service.

Meanwhile, AT&T is gaining Cricket's distribution channels, customers and spectrum. Cricket's network covers around 97 million people in 35 states, and the prepaid operator has 4.57 million subscribers. AT&T says that it plans to expand the Cricket brand to additional cities. The spectrum that AT&T is gaining is in the PCS and AWS bands. It covers around 138 million people and is "largely complimentary" to AT&T's existing spectrum holdings. The big blue carrier plans to immediately begin to use its new spectrum to add capacity to and improve the performance of its LTE network.

This deal seems to have gone much more smoothly for AT&T than its attempted acquisition of T-Mobile. That's not entirely surprising considering the difference in size between T-Mo and Cricket, but I'm sure that AT&T is still pleased to have the deal done and to be gaining some more of that precious, precious spectrum. News of the completion is also good for AT&T customers, as it means that many of them should be treated to improved LTE network performance. 

When it comes to the new Cricket, it's expected that customer migrations to the refreshed prepaid operator will be completed in 18 months. AT&T and Leap have set up a special website and a brief video to help explain the matter to existing Aio and Cricket customers. Peep the clip below.

Via Leap Wireless (1), (2)