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Cricket LTE goes live in Tucson, introduces the Huawei Boltz

Brad Molen

Leap Wireless, the Cricket folks, told us we can expect to see LTE service go live in Tucson before the end of the year -- and by golly, they were bound and determined to do it. Sure 'nuff, the prepaid carrier is now ready to match wits against MetroPCS as it brings its first 4G market and device live with just ten days remaining in 2011. At least 90 percent of Tucson will be able to enjoy the faster speeds, with nearby Nogales, AZ receiving some expansion love sometime in 2012 and at least two-thirds of its countrywide network benefiting from the next-gen service within the next two to three years. Its first LTE device is the Huawei Boltz -- also known as the Huawei E397 in other parts of the world -- and can be bought for $150 with no contract. Eventually, Leap says, the lineup will be expanded to include smartphones and tablets. Now, let's talk pricing: two data plans of 5GB each are available, with $50 getting you download speeds of 3Mbps and $60 offering you 6Mbps. Granted, this is nothing compared to the ultra-fast speeds you see on Verizon and AT&T's LTE networks at the moment, but it's a start.

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Leap's Cricket Service Begins Network Transition to 4G LTE with First Commercial Market Launch in Tucson, Arizona

- Huawei Boltz USB Modem Cricket's First LTE Device -
CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS, INC. LEAP LOGO Leap Wireless International, Inc. (PRNewsFoto/Cricket Communications, Inc.) SAN DIEGO, CA UNITED STATES

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 21, 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, today announced the beginning of its transition to 4G LTE with a commercial market launch in its Tucson, Ariz. Cricket market. The launch marks the beginning of the Company's planned, multi-year transition of its existing high-quality 3G network to 4G LTE.

"The introduction of Cricket 4G LTE in Tucson as our first commercial market is an early milestone in our transition to LTE that will allow us to continue to offer our customers high-quality products and services with the latest technology at the value price they've come to expect," said Doug Hutcheson, president and CEO of Leap. "Cricket is the leader in providing the best value in the wireless industry. That leadership comes from introducing new products and services, like LTE, in a thoughtful manner and on a timeline that is appropriate for our value conscious customers."

4G LTE is the fastest most advanced network technology in America delivering data at incredibly fast speeds. In pre-launch speed tests conducted in the Tucson market, Cricket's 4G speeds ranged from 5 to 10 times faster than current 3G data speeds. More than 90 percent of Cricket's Tucson market footprint will be covered by the new 4G LTE network and further expansion is planned for nearby Nogales, Ariz. in 2012.

At launch, 4G LTE service will be accessible via mobile broadband services and the Cricket's first 4G LTE device, the Huawei Boltz (E 397) modem, will be available for $149.99 (MSRP) at Cricket's company-owned stores. Cricket's LTE device roadmap is expected to grow steadily from modems to smartphones and ultimately other devices such as tablets. Tucson customers can select from two 4G LTE monthly service plans each providing up to 5GB of data per month. The $50 plan offers download speeds of up to 3Mbps and the $60 plan offers download speeds up to 6Mbps.

The Huawei Boltz, Cricket's first 4G LTE modem, features a lightweight, sleek design. Its integrated installation software allows quick and easy set-up, the modem has a hinge and pivots to any USB 2.0 configuration and has a microSD slot for up to 32GB additional memory storage. The Boltz is backwards compatible with Cricket 3G networks for use in non-4G Cricket markets.

Huawei Boltz Features


4G: LTE AWS Band Class 15 Bandwidth 1.4MHz, 3MHz, 5MHz
3G: CDMA 1x & EVDO BC1 & BC15 (1900 & AWS)

OS Compatibility:

Windows XP SP2/SP3, Window Vista SP1/SP2 (32 & 64 Bit), Windows 7 (32 & 64 bit)
Mac OS 10.5 to 10.6 with latest updates (32 & 64 bit), 10.7 (32 & 64
Micro USB (High Speed)



Memory Slot:

microSD™ (supports up to 32GB)


(H) 4" x (W) 2.2" x (D) .60"

Monthly Rate Plans:

$50 Plan – 5GB of data with speeds up to 3Mbps
$60 Plan – 5GB of data with speeds up to 6Mbps

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