Leap Wireless (Cricket) to Offer 4G LTE Lilly Pads

Leap Wireless, the parent company to Cricket Wireless, is rolling out a limited LTE plan that CEO and President Doug Hutcheson is calling “Hot Spots”.

Hutcheson told the Global Media and Communications Conference that they would roll out what the US considers 4G in limited amounts in 2011 and add to it based on demand in 2012 and 2013.  He also said that Leap doesn’t plan on building out an entire 4G network on it’s own.  Leap Wireless has the equivelant of a smaller regional footprint of their own and uses roaming or wholesale partnerships with other carriers to complete the entire country.  When there is no leap service Cricket (Leap) phones have 3G roaming data on Sprint. When pressed for details about LTE roll out Hutcheson suggested he may wholesale from Clearwire or Lightsquared.

Hutcheson also spoke quite a bit on Leap’s recent successes.  Theyve seen a “significant upsurge” in customers migrating to smartphones and their more expensive smartphone data plan which is unlimited voice and text and 1gb of data for $55 per month.  Leap/Cricket currently offers a blackberry model and two Android devices including the Huawei Ascend which is exclusive to Cricket offering Android 2.1 on a quick device for $149 off contract.

Hutcheson said smartphones accounted for 40% of new customer sales in November.  Hutcheson said that Leap is rolling out a new big box retail strategy.  A Cricket spokesperson indicated to thedroidguy.com that in the coming year the whole company would be called Cricket.

Source: UBS 38th Annual Media and Communications Conference

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