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Cricket takes a great leap forward, expands footprint with a little help from retail friends


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After inking a wholesale spectrum agreement with Sprint last year, Leap's going for broke and rolling its "value-driven" Cricket service out nationwide on September 25th. The expansion includes a sprinkling of Walmart stores, Dollar General and even cable-shopping channel HSN, but the majority of its new reach will come from a partnership with Best Buy. In addition to offering monthly plans for dumb and smartphones alike, the operator's also serving up specific Muve Music service packages to play nice with three upcoming handsets. Along with the Samsung Vitality and ZTE Chorus (both to be available before the holidays), Cricket's introducing its first ZTE smartphone -- the Score. Don't go looking for high-end specs here, as the 3.5-inch Android device runs Gingerbread atop a 600MHz processor and includes a 3.2 megapixel camera. Feature phone users will also get a couple of new options to choose, with the Huawei Pillar and Samsung Chrono offered on the provider's PAYGo service. If you're in the mood to dig through PR spiel, skip past the break for a trio of pressers.

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Leap Announces Expanded Availability of Cricket Products and Services Through Key National Retail Outlets

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ: LEAP), the parent company of Cricket Communications, Inc., a leading provider of innovative and value-driven wireless communications services, announced a major retail expansion today that will result in Cricket products and services being available to consumers nationwide. During the next two months, Cricket's innovative products and services will be launched in key major retailers including Best Buy, select Walmart locations, Dollar General and through one of America's most popular interactive multi-channel retailers, HSN. Today's announcement takes advantage of Leap's wholesale agreement with Sprint that is expected to support the Company's goal of establishing Cricket as the national value leader in the rapidly expanding prepaid wireless segment.

"This is a significant milestone in the plans we announced last year to create a new, hybrid wholesale and facilities-based model that is unique in the wireless industry," said Doug Hutcheson, president and chief executive officer for Leap. "We are excited to bring Cricket's innovative wireless products to a large group of consumers who until now have not been able to take advantage of the tremendous value these products provide. In addition, we're happy to bring Muve Music, our fast-growing music service designed specifically for the mobile phone, to music lovers, especially as we near the important holiday season."

Cricket began providing wireless services in 1999 and now serves approximately 5.7 million customers in the 35 states where it has built and operates its own networks and a network of company owned retail stores and independent dealers. Under the unique wholesale roaming agreement announced last year, the company will, over the next two months, roll-out Cricket products and services to customers across additional markets in the 35 states it currently serves as well as into new markets. Cricket products will be available in more than 11,500 locations once the new retail expansion is complete.

"This move greatly expands the scope of our business and we believe this and other initiatives the Company has previously initiated will further the momentum we are seeing in voice customer growth and increased penetration and keep us on a trajectory of growth," continued Hutcheson.

Cricket products and services will be available in more than 1,300 Best Buy stores nationwide beginning September 25. A wide range of devices and service plans will be available to national retail customers and further announcements will be made soon regarding Cricket's availability in the other retailers announced today.

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Cricket Introduces ZTE Score Android™ Smartphone

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 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) and ZTE, a leading global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, today announced the launch of the ZTE Score™, the seventh smartphone to be included in Cricket's dynamic line of phone offerings and the first ZTE smartphone to be launched by Cricket. Cricket is the first carrier to launch the ZTE Score, which will be available beginning Sunday, September 25 in Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations across the United States and will soon be available through Cricket stores and dealers.

The ZTE Score is a full-featured Android smartphone providing speed and ease of use, making it particularly appealing for those customers looking to upgrade to a device with today's newest technologies. The phone is based on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) comes with 600 MHz of processing speed and features a 3.5" HVGA capacitive touch display, accelerometer and virtual qwerty keypad, 3.2MP camera/camcorder, WiFi capable, 3G real web browsing and XT9 Trace for easy text entry. The ZTE Score also includes the new and innovative Muve Music service, and it also offers access to more than 200,000 apps on the Android market, Google Maps and Navigator, Email, MyAccount, Cricket411, and much more. The smartphone will be available for $129.99 (MSRP).

With the Muve Music smartphone plan, Cricket Wireless customers will enjoy unlimited song downloads, ringtones, and ringback tones, as well as unlimited text, picture, and video messaging, 3G mobile data, mobile video, data back-up, and 411 assistance.

Muve Music is the first unlimited music service to be included as part of a wireless rate plan and now has more than 200,000 customers. By applying its philosophy of unlimited services and value innovation, Cricket and Muve Music have given their customers a new music experience that ranks high in customer satisfaction.

"ZTE is pleased to work with Cricket to provide its customers with new devices that provide the best of today's technology at an accessible price point," said Lixin Cheng, CEO, ZTE USA and President, North America Region, ZTE. "The ZTE Score, powered by Android and an ideal platform for Muve Music, is a prime example of a feature-rich, affordable smartphone that will help consumers enhance their mobile lifestyle."

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Cricket to Introduce Unique New Nationwide Cricket Products Into Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile Locations Nationwide

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 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) and Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer, today announced the upcoming introduction of Muve Music and new, all-inclusive nationwide Cricket monthly voice products into more than 1,300 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile specialty stores nationwide. These new products, will be available beginning Sunday, September 25, enable Cricket to bring its industry-leading value proposition to an expanded nationwide audience. The announcement is part of Cricket's major retail expansion announced today that will result in Cricket products and services being available to consumers in additional markets across the country.

"Our partnership with Best Buy, one of the country's most trusted names in national retail, will allow Cricket to significantly expand our distribution footprint nationwide with products like our popular music service Muve Music which is among the fastest growing music services in the country," said Doug Hutcheson, president and chief executive officer of Leap. "These products feature nationwide coverage and no contracts. Several of them are being offered by Cricket for the first time and are customized and unique to Best Buy."

Cricket's fast-growing music service Muve Music, that is winning the praise of customers and critics alike, will headline the selection of Cricket's products and services in Best Buy. Ultimately, three handsets will be available with Muve Music at Best Buy for the holiday shopping season. The recently launched Samsung Vitality smartphone will be available for $199.99 (MSRP). In addition, Muve Music will be available on the newly-launched ZTE Score smartphone for $129.99 (MSRP). A new Muve Music feature phone will also be introduced in Best Buy, the ZTE Chorus, which will be available later this year at $99.99 (MSRP).

With the Muve Music Smartphone rate plan, Best Buy customers will enjoy unlimited song downloads, ringtones, and ringback tones, as well as nationwide calling; unlimited text, picture, video messaging and 3G mobile data; mobile video; data back-up, and 411 assistance all for just $55 per month. The Muve Music feature phone rate plan in Best Buy will be available for $45 per month.

In addition, Cricket is introducing two additional standard feature phones at Best Buy, the Huawei Pillar ($69.99 MSRP) and the Samsung Chrono ($39.99 MSRP). The Pillar features a QWERTY keyboard for fast and easy text and picture messaging. Customers can enjoy easy talk and test with one simple flip with the Samsung Chrono.

Both feature phones will be available on two new Cricket PAYGo service plans at $25 and $35 per month. Both plans include unlimited text, picture and video messaging and unlimited mobile web. The $25 plan includes 300 minutes of US calling per month while the $35 plan includes 1,000 minutes of US calling.

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