Leap: Mobile broadband driving growth

Flat-rate upstart Leap Wireless said its mobile broadband business is growing at a steady clip, and that it hopes to use the offering to steal voice customers away from its Tier 1 rivals. Around half of Leap's broadband subscribers use another wireless carrier for mobile calling, according to Leap CFO Walter Berger, and the carrier hopes to snatch those subscribers up once their contracts expire.

"This business will continue to grow at a great pace," he told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview, adding that he thinks broadband subscribers likely will make up a larger share of Leap's overall customer base over time.

Leap notched 116,000 net customer additions in the third quarter, a figure that included 97,000 net broadband subscriber additions. Leap recently introduced a $50 prepaid broadband plan with a data limit of 10 GB, and also expanded its distribution efforts into a number of big-box retailers.

Several carriers have followed Leap into the prepaid mobile broadband market. AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless each recently launched prepaid plans with identical pricing: a daily plan for $15 with a cap at 75 MB of usage, a weekly plan for $30 with a cap at 250 MB, and a monthly plan for $50 with a 500 MB cap. Virgin Mobile USA also supports a variety of prepaid mobile broadband plans, including one that offers 1 GB of data usage for $60.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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