Leap Wireless International, which has been the subject of renewed merger speculation, is taking the prepaid battles up a notch, with new plans rolling out at big-box retailers.
Leap has long been eyed as a merger partner with MetroPCS Communications, and speculation picked up again after their second-quarter financial reports. Fueling speculation is competition from the likes of Boost Mobile, which earlier this year launched a $50 all-inclusive plan that does not require customers to pay additional taxes and fees on top of that.
Leap says its new plans include all-inclusive monthly $40 and $45 plans that will be added to the existing PayGo product line. The $40 plan includes unlimited talk, U.S. long distance, access to Cricket’s extended calling area, domestic and international text and picture messaging.
The $45 plan has all the unlimited features of the $40 plan, plus unlimited mobile Web and directory assistance.
The new nationwide products include all fees and telecom taxes as well as voicemail, call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling over Cricket’s 3G EV-DO network. Airtime, or top-up, cards for Cricket PAYGo will be available at four national retailers and thousands of other locations across the country.
A Cricket Broadband soon will be available in nearly 1,000 national retailer stores through a new all-inclusive $50 monthly service plan that will include all fees and taxes and provides unlimited Internet access without a signed contract or credit check.
Cricket’s new products are expected to be in place in time for the holiday shopping season. The Cricket A600 modem will be available as a grab-and-go offering for $69.99 with no activation fee, and $50 top-up cards also will be available for that product.
Once rolled out, Cricket’s new nationwide monthly voice and broadband products will be available in about 3,500 national retail stores, an increase from the current 2,500 points of distribution.
Leap says individual retail partners will be announced in the coming weeks as new products are deployed in their stores.