Leap Wireless is gearing up for this summer's advanced wireless services spectrum auction. The operator, which reported that consolidated net income more than doubled during the first quarter, announced plans to sell $250 million in common stock that will partly be used to assist in license purchases and the build out of networks from auction and after-market purchases. Does this mean Leap has more nationwide aspirations? It's original strategy was to target more isolated midsized markets with an all-you-can-eat voice plan and no roaming. That strategy didn't work too well, but the carrier has come back to the market with a vengeance since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004.
It still offers unlimited pricing but tweaked its operating metrics and the service to offer roaming and data services, and it's been expanding into more markets through after-market license purchases from smaller players. Leap said it added more than 110,000 net customers during the first quarter, an increase of 140 percent from net additions of about 46,000 during last year's first quarter. The growth was also ahead of analysts' estimates of around 100,000 to 105,000 net customer additions.