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Leap Wireless LTE service launches in Tucson

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Leap Wireless has launched its 4G LTE service in Tucson, Arizona, and expects to have two-thirds of its network covered in the next two or three years. Customers of its subsidiary, Cricket, can currently only access the network with a Huawei modem, but other devices will be coming in mid-to-late 2012.

via <a href="http://leapwireless.mediaroom.com/image/AscendII.jpg">leapwireless.mediaroom.com</a>
via leapwireless.mediaroom.com

Leap Wireless, parent of Cricket Mobile, has launched its 4G LTE network in Tucson, Arizona. The company says the new network will cover 90 percent of its Tucson customers, and will be expanded to nearby Nogales, Arizona in 2012. If Leap sticks with the plan it outlined last month, about two-thirds of its network will get LTE in the next two or three years. As far as mid-tier carriers go, that puts it behind MetroPCS, which launched its 4G network in 2010, and on similar footing with US Cellular, which hasn't yet launched LTE but plans to do so in six states in early 2012.

Devices are another matter. Currently, Cricket customers are limited to the Huawei Boltz, a $149.99 4G LTE modem. This latest update didn't hint at when LTE smartphones might be available, but Leap's CEO has previously said they'll be coming in mid-to-late 2012. If the pricing stays at its current rate, customers will get 5GB of data at 3Mbps for $50 a month, or the same amount at 6Mbps for $60. As with all Cricket services, that's contract-free.