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Cricket Leaps Into 4G in Vegas

Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP) launched Las Vegas as its second 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) city, promising more to come in 2012.

The pay-as-you-go, low-cost operator -- otherwise known as Cricket -- says that the 4G deployment, announced Wednesday, covers 80 percent of the Las Vegas area. It is claiming that the service will offer data speeds three to 15 times faster than its 3G service.

"We expect to launch LTE service in additional Cricket markets in 2012 and cover approximately 21 million covered POPs by the end of the year," says Doug Hutcheson, president and CEO of Leap, in a statement. "In addition, we expect to introduce several high-quality LTE smartphones before the end of the year that will be attractive to our value conscious customers."

The company is selling a Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Bolt 3G CDMA and LTE modem for $149 to connect to the network. Customers get a choice of 4G data plans ranging from $35 to $80 per month depending on speed requirements.

Why this matters
Leap has had one LTE market up, in Tucson, Ariz., since December 2011. It expects to extend 4G service for smartphones to at least two-thirds of its network during the next two to three years.

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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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