Cricket Communications, a prepaid wireless carrier with more than 6 million customers nationwide, is unveiling three tiered plans for Android customers that include Muve, its music download service.
The new rate plans, which will be available in September, are designed to ease congestion in its data network while highlighting the all-you-can-download music service, called Muve, that has been growing in popularity, says Doug Hutcheson, CEO of Leap, parent company of Cricket.
In the new Android plans, customers can buy unlimited talk, text and 1 gigabyte (GB) of data per month for $50 without a long-term contract. They can also opt for the $60 plan that contains 2.5 GB of data per month or the $70 plan that comes with 5 GB. Phones must be purchased separately.
The carrier is also reducing its four non-smartphone (feature phone) plans to two — $35 or $45 per month plans that offer unlimited talk and text. The two eliminated plans had focused on international calling.
Until now, Cricket offered two "unlimited" data plans — $55 without Muve and $65 with Muve — that slowed down the data speed for customers who exceeded 2.5 GB per month.
For those choosing Android phones, the new rate plans will also include all-you-can-download songs from its Muve music service, which has gained about 600,000 customers since the carrier introduced it in early 2011. The downloaded songs will not count against the monthly data limit.
"Across the industry, most of (data) abuse is done by people that are continuously in file-sharing mode," Hutcheson says. "These (new) tiers cover a very high percentage of data — very close to 100% — that typical consumers need or want for a wireless product."
The Muve service doesn't allow transfer of the downloaded songs to other devices and customers don't have access to their songs if they leave Cricket. "We know that customers love having access to legal music that's organized. We think music should be mainstream," Hutcheson says.
Cricket last made changes in data plans two years ago when it introduced smartphones to its no-contract customers. But in two years, nearly half of its customers have switched to smartphones, Hutcheson says.