Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) is currently selling one CDMA 1X Advanced phone, the Huawei Mercury, and expects to expand 1X Advanced to all of its new feature phones by the third quarter of 2012. Leap's deployment of CDMA 1X Advanced is an attempt by the carrier to transmit voice calls over its CDMA network more efficiently.
Leap spokesman Greg Lund couldn't immediately provide details on Leap's 1X Advanced deployment, including details on installing the technology into the carrier's network. However, Leap's Matt Stoiber, chief of the carrier's devices, confirmed that the Android-powered Huawei Mercury smartphone, released in December, is Leap's first device to support 1X Advanced. Stoiber said the phone runs the Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) 8655 chipset, which is a key requirement for 1X Advanced devices.
According to the CDMA Development Group, 1X Advanced supports four times the number of voice calls than legacy CDMA2000 1X networks, or 80 times the number of calls than older analog networks. It can also improve coverage by up to 70 percent. According to Qualcomm, operators can transition to 1X Advanced "gradually and economically" by deploying suitable devices and then upgrading their network with "a simple channel card upgrade."
Leap isn't the only CDMA carrier eying 1X Advanced. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) has said it plans to deploy CDMA 1X Advanced voice service in its 800 MHz spectrum, after it decommissions its iDEN network there starting in 2013. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) to has made noise about 1X Advanced. However, a MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) spokesman said the carrier is focused on its LTE network and doesn't have any immediate plans for 1X Advanced.
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