Leap launches LTE service in Las Vegas

Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) launched LTE service in Las Vegas, its second LTE market.  The operator previously launched LTE in Tucson, Ariz., as a test market in December 2011.

Leap will sell the Huawei Boltz LTE modem for $149.99 at Cricket's company-owned stores and dealers in Las Vegas and Tucson. Leap's LTE data plans range from $35 to $80 per month depending upon how much data customers want at the highest possible speed. Leap charges $35 per month for 2 GB of data at full LTE speed, $45 for 4 GB, $65 for 8 GB and $80 for unlimited data. Extra data can be purchased for an extra $10 per month for 1 GB.

Leap plans to have 21 million POPs covered by year-end and two-thirds of its current network footprint covered with LTE by 2015. The company will try to strike LTE roaming deals with other carriers to fill in the gaps in its coverage as it focuses on building out LTE to the parts of its network where it will generate a strong return, according to a Leap executive.

James Seines, vice president and treasurer at Leap, said earlier this month at an investor conference that LTE investments "will be made with a very strict focus on return" and that Leap is "also looking at partnerships and collaborations with other wireless carriers to bring that service to our customers."

Interestingly, Leap currently sells the LTE-capable iPhone 5 but the company has declined to say whether it will support the iPhone 5's LTE capabilities with its forthcoming LTE network.

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