Leap launches latest salvo in prepaid price war

Leap Wireless is adding more features to its unlimited prepaid plans, action that comes on the heels of major price cuts from Leap rivals MetroPCS and TracFone.

Leap said it would add unlimited Web and 411 access to its $40 per month unlimited voice, text and picture messaging plan. And the carrier's $45 monthly plan will now include unlimited email, unlimited data backup and 30 roaming minutes per month. Leap's $55 plan is the same as its $45 plan but gives subscribers 200 roaming minutes per month. Leap's new plans go into effect today.

Leap announced the changes just days after rival MetroPCS unveiled a new $40 unlimited monthly plan. Leap spokesman Greg Lund told FierceWireless the new changes were not done in response to MetroPCS's pricing changes, and that Leap's new plans had been in the works for a few weeks.

Nevertheless, Lund did acknowledge that competition in the unlimited prepaid space is heating up in some markets. "This enables to more responsive to competitive pressures in individual markets," he said.

"We believe both of these moves further support our thesis of ARPU declines in 2010 for both Leap Wireless and MetroPCS versus consensus which we believe shows little or no decline next year despite a market that is becoming increasingly more competitive," wrote Pali Research's Walter Piecyk.

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