The prepaid price wars went up a notch yesterday when Leap Wireless International subsidiary Cricket Communications said it will expand its $40 monthly plan starting today.
The expanded $40 plan, which already includes unlimited voice, long distance, domestic and international text and picture messaging, will now include unlimited Web, 411 and service to more than 4,600 cities and towns across the United States.
The regional carrier also says its $45 monthly plan will include the additional features of unlimited e-mail, unlimited data backup and 30 roaming minutes per month. The $55 plan mirrors the $45 plan but also contains 200 roaming minutes per month.
In a press release, COO Al Moschner said the $40 and $45 plans are at the heart of Cricket’s value proposition. “The new features we have included in our service plans significantly increase the value we deliver to our customers and are consistent with Cricket’s history of value leadership,” he said.
The carrier says it also is strengthening its relationships with dealers through enhanced compensation and it continues to expand its line-up of 3G handsets and applications. Cricket also announced the addition of two new clusters to the company’s calling areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest regions.
Meanwhile, Leap has been lobbying hard for changes in the “home market” roaming rules at the FCC and has said that Verizon Wireless’ latest offer doesn’t go far enough.
Yesterday, T-Mobile USA sent a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, lending support to Leap’s cause. Reciprocal roaming has long been an effective way for both T-Mobile and other carriers to ensure coverage for their traveling customers, “and this is especially so for emerging competitors,” the letter said, without naming specific emerging carriers.