Prepaid carrier Cricket Communications made a big splash when its parent company announced its first quarter results yesterday, unveiling tiered mobile broadband plans, new prepaid plans and an ambitious new device lineup.
The plans are comprised of a $40 Basic plan with a 2.5 GB data limit; a $50 More plan with a 5 GB data limit; and a $60 Premium plan with a 7.5 GB data limit. The company also announced unlimited data plans for Android and BlackBerry users that cost $55 and $60 per month, respectively.
The new data plans came after Cricket and its parent company, Leap Wireless International, said in the spring they would be testing tier-priced broadband plans that would throttle a user’s speed once they reached their monthly data limits.
Cricket reiterated its intention to throttle speeds once users reach their data limits in its announcement of the new plans, but did not specify how slow the service would become. The carrier offers the broadband services over its network and said yesterday it signed a five-year wholesale agreement with Sprint’s 3G network allowing its customers to roam onto areas not covered by Cricket’s network.
Cricket also said it plans on releasing 15 smartphones, feature phones and broadband devices between last month and the end of the year. The lineup includes the Android-based Kyocera Sanyo Zio, the BlackBerry Curve 8530 and refreshed models of two of the company’s most popular feature phones, the Cricket Captr II and the Cricket MSGM8 II. Cricket is also launching a personal Wi-Fi hot spot, the Crosswave, and expects to launch the Huawei 1705 modem and Cricket A605 USB modem next week.
“We are determined to make Cricket the best provider of value-driven services in the prepaid wireless industry, and with our new device lineup, available on our true 3G network, we have taken a big step toward achieving that goal,” said Leap President and CEO Doug Hutcheson in a statement. “As the shift toward the use of smartphones, touchscreens and tablet devices continues, we believe we are improving our position to capitalize on the rapid growth in this area.”
The big changes at Cricket came as Leap Wireless reported its second-quarter financial results. Leap narrowed its losses to $19.3 million from a loss of $61.2 million during the same period last year. Sales came in at $633.5 million on an increase in service revenues, which hit $596.9 million.
Churn rose six-tenths of a percentage point to 5 percent and the company lost about 112,000 customers, including 73,000 voice customers and 39,000 broadband customers. ARPU fell 7 percent to $37.61.