Leap Takes Its Time on LTE
The prepaid carrier plans to cover about two-thirds of its current network footprint using spectrum it already has available today within the next two to three years, President and CEO Doug Hutcheson said Wednesday on its second-quarter earnings call. (See Leap Posts Loss as Broadband Subs Flee.)
"While spectrum is always of interest to us, we've been very, very articulate in terms of where we think our spectrum position is," Leap CFO Walter Berger added on the call. "We feel quite capable of our ability to build without the requirement or need for spectrum acquisition." Leap already has a roaming agreement in place with LightSquared for LTE that will let it roam on to its network for 4G services. (See CTIA 2011: Leap Looks Ahead to LTE.)
The CDMA operator will trial the 4G technology late this year. As part of its plans, it expects capex to be less than $10 per covered POP, but it says the overall cost will depend on the scope and pace of its roll out.
Hutcheson expects competitively priced 4G devices to start coming to market around the same time it will be deploying LTE, which will be important for the company's price-sensitive customer base. (See More Growth Predicted for Pre-Paid.)
"We will be well-positioned to bring higher-speed offerings to our customers when 4G pricing is appropriate," Hutcheson said. — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile