AT&T plans to purchase Leap Wireless for $15 per share. Leap is the parent company of Cricket Wireless, a small U.S. carrier that sells the iPhone prepaid. In a press release issued today, both carriers confirmed the acquisition plans, explaining that “AT&T will acquire all of Leap’s stock and wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 5 million subscribers.” Leap is currently over $2 billion in debt, so the AT&T deal will help rescue what has been a sinking ship.
“AT&T will retain the Cricket brand name, provide Cricket customers with access to AT&T’s award-winning 4G LTE mobile network, utilize Cricket’s distribution channels, and expand Cricket’s presence to additional U.S. cities,” notes the press release. The acquisition will also help bolster AT&T’s coverage in select areas around the country. More importantly, Cricket customers will have access to AT&T’s more robust 4G LTE network.
Through the Cricket brand, Leap Wireless was the first U.S. carrier to sell the iPhone at full price with a prepaid plan. Back in February, Leap was on track to sell only half as many iPhones as it had planned on when it partnered with Apple in 2012. If the FCC and DoJ approve the acquisition, then Leap will be protected under the larger umbrella of AT&T.
Cricket recently cut prices on its prepaid iPhone plans. For $50 per month, you can have unlimited texting, voice, and 1GB of data.
Source: Leap Wireless