Leap expanding distribution, not ready to commit to Android

SAN DIEGO--Flat-rate carrier Leap Wireless, offering service under the Cricket brand, is quickly adding more retailers to its distribution mix. In an interview with FierceWireless at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment conference here, Sergio Garcia, senior director of devices, said that the company is expanding its distribution into mass market retailers Best Buy, Target, Dollar General and Wal-Mart.

In addition, Garcia said that despite all the momentum around Google's Android operating system, the carrier is not ready to commit to Android but instead is focusing on delivering devices that appeal to its cost-conscious customers. Garcia said that many of the industry's large device makers are so focused on high-end smartphones that use Android and other operating systems that they have left gaps in the low-end device area that appeal to Cricket's core base.

In fact, in that quest to serve its customers, Leap recently has worked directly with device manufacturers in order to bring specific gadgets to market that carry the Cricket brand. The Capture, the A100 and the A-600 Rev. A broadband USB modem were all created by Cricket intentionally to serve specific customer niches that Garcia said were not being adequately served by existing device manufacturers. "We had a need for a 1X camera phone. We found that market was under-penetrated," he said.

On the broadband front, Cricket remains focused on its previously announced plan to launch a broadband rate plan in the next couple of weeks that will be $50 per month for 10 GB of data and will be sold exclusively with one of its new retail partners. The company also will continue to offer its $35 per month plan for 5 GB of data to existing Cricket customers and $40 per month plan for 5 GB of data to new Cricket customers.

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