Terms of the five-year wholesale agreement were not disclosed.
Why this matters
With only 23MHz of spectrum reserved for LTE in the markets it serves, additional spectrum will be crucial to achieve Cricket's 4G ambitions. The contract-free carrier has LTE up and running in one market in Arizona, but plans to deploy the 4G network across two-thirds of its current footprint, reaching 25 million POPs this year. Clearwire should help it fill in the gaps of its coverage.
The customer win is also good news for Clearwire as the wholesaler needs more money and more customers for its LTE-Advanced buildout, planned for 2013. Clearwire lost some of its cable customers as a result of its spectrum deal with Verizon Wireless , but it's also expecting to sign up more operators for LTE in the wake of LightSquared 's network being blocked by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . (See Ides of March Looms for LightSquared , Comcast, TW Cable to Halt Clearwire Sales, Sprint's $2B Debt Play May Help Clearwire, Clearwire Close to $200M in Vendor Financing and FreedomPop Bets on 4G With Clearwire.)
Read up on Cricket's LTE plans below.
- 4G: Cricket's Tiny Channels
- Leap Launches First LTE Market
- Verizon, Leap Swap Some Spectrum
- Cricket's First LTE Market Coming Soon
- Cricket Sticks With Unlimited as It Looks to LTE
- Cricket Leaps to Nationwide
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile