Leap expands Cricket brand nationwide with Best Buy retail deal

Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) is partnering with Best Buy and other retailers to take its Cricket Wireless service nationwide in a bid to expand its reach, just as it is looking to push its Muve Music offering and Android smartphones ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Flat-rate carrier Leap said starting Sunday its Cricket voice products will be available in more than 1,300 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores nationwide, and not just in markets in which Cricket has traditionally operated. The push is part of a broader national retail rollout Leap executives hinted at earlier this spring and the latest in a series of strategic moves the company has made to appeal to more customers; Leap signed a wholesale relationship with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) last year to get access to Sprint's CDMA network. 

"This was a chance to build national retail into a larger role for us," Leap CEO Doug Hutchinson said in an interview with CNET. "I'm looking forward to building that channel." Leap plans to expand its retail distribution in the coming weeks to include Wal-Mart, Dollar General and the Home Shopping Network.

Best Buy will sell three distinct Cricket products: a basic plan for $25, which includes unlimited messaging and mobile web and 300 minutes, a $35 plan that includes unlimited messaging and web access and 1,000 voice minutes and a $45 Muve Music plan that includes unlimited song downloads, messaging mobile web and 1,000 voice minutes. To mark the expansion Leap also said that it will launch three Muve Music phones at Best Buy: two Android powered devices, including the Samsung Vitality for $200 and the ZTE Score for $130, as well as the ZTE Chorus, which is a feature phone. 

The Muve Music Service offers access to up to 10 million songs and Leap recently said the service has over 200,000 customers. The company just began expanding it to phones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform.

For mpre:
- see this release
- see this CNET article
- see this AllThingsD article

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