Regional value brand Cricket has really been upping its smartphone street cred lately -- and as such, data's becoming more of a priority. To that end, they'd announced a new 3G data roaming deal in August... and that deal is now live, instantly expanding Cricket's high-speed footprint from around 92 million individuals up to 280 million. That's a big expansion -- the kind of instant expansion that only a partnership with one of the big guys can net you -- and it should make Cricket a whole lot more appealing now that one of its biggest downsides has been eliminated. Of course, we're sure that spending the majority of your time in roaming territory will still get you into trouble, but it's something. Follow the break for Crickets' press release.

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Cricket Announces Launch of Nationwide 3G Data Roaming

~ Nationwide 3G Data Roaming Initially Available for Cricket Smartphone Customers ~

SAN DIEGO – October 19, 2010 – Cricket Communications Inc., a leading provider of innovative and value-driven wireless services and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP), today announced the availability of nationwide 3G data coverage. This nationwide 3G capability will initially be available for users of the two Android Smartphones offered by Cricket: the Sanyo ZIO by Kyocera and the just-announced Huawei Ascend, and the Blackberry Curve 8530. Cricket has significantly expanded its 3G data capabilities through a roaming arrangement announced in August, which enables Cricket to now offer its Smartphone customers nationwide 3G coverage to complement the nationwide talk and text service it currently offers.

"We are pleased to offer nationwide 3G data coverage. It's a significant step in our efforts to bring exciting new devices and capabilities to our customer and become the best provider of value-driven 3G services in the prepaid wireless industry," said Doug Hutcheson, president and chief executive officer of Leap. "Data is increasingly important, particularly as the new Smartphones we've introduced gain popularity across our customer base. We expect our ability to offer high-speed data services across the United States will expand our appeal to potential customers and provide a better customer experience."

Starting today new Cricket customers can take advantage of nationwide 3G coverage when using their ZIO and Ascend Android Smartphones and Blackberry Curve 8530. The roaming agreement that enables Cricket's expanded coverage is the first major commercial 3G data roaming agreement in the United States and expands Cricket 3G data network from 92 million potential customers (POPS) to cover approximately 280 million POPS.

For more information about Cricket's dynamic device lineup and value-rich service plans, please visit www.mycricket.com.