AT&T this week announced that it intends to acquire Leap Wireless for $15 per share - nearly $1.2 billion. The deal will give AT&T ownership of Leap's licenses, network, and stores. AT&T will also get over 5 million subscribers, edging it up as the second-largest mobile provider in the U.S. and closing its subscriber gap with Verizon.
Leap provides wireless service through its Cricket Wireless subsidiary. Cricket is a low-cost mobile carrier that provides service to customers across the U.S. Cricket also provides unlimited data plans, unlike AT&T. Cricket CEO Doug Hutcheson and Cricket COO Jerry Elliott have issued a statement reassuring customers that the sale announcement "will not result in any change or disruption to your Cricket service." The executives did not comment on how the eventual closing of the sale might affect Cricket customers. From the statement:
Until the transaction is complete - which we expect could take six to nine months - Cricket and AT&T will continue to operate as independent companies. You and your customer experience remain our top priority and our day-to-day operations will continue as usual.
We remain committed to you and will continue to focus on providing you with innovative, value-rich prepaid wireless service with no long-term contracts.
AT&T has stated that it will be keeping the Cricket brand name while providing its customers with access to its 4G LTE service. The mobile provider also stated that it plans to expand Cricket's service to more cities across the U.S.