The new plans, which debuted on Cricket's website last week, start at $30 for 2GB of data, down from $45 for 2.5GB. Cricket also revamped its existing plans, bumping its $65 plan from 7.5GB to 8GB of data and adding a $45 plan for 4GB of data to replace the $50 for 5GB plan. The plans do not, however, apply on Leap's Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, which it's in the process of building out.
The carrier is launching the new plans in response to low prices from Virgin, which offers a $30 unlimited data plan on parent company Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s WiMax network. Both carriers also offer the iPhone now. (See Virgin Mobile USA to Crunch iPhone Data Costs and Cricket's iPhone Leap of Faith.)
Why this matters
Cricket is taking the cost of data to the lowest rung in the market. It's a bar that the larger operators likely can't -- and maybe won't have to -- meet, but it could put the pressure on the other smaller wireless operators. It remains to be seen if the price wars amongst the regional operators follow them to LTE.
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