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Leap strikes back, makes unlimited messaging free for all

Leap Wireless International Inc. has retooled its price plans and included unlimited messaging in all of its plans-bucking the current industry trend of charging more for text messages.
Instead of charging an additional $5 per month for unlimited messaging, Leap has opted to include the feature in all of its price plans, because “SMS and MMS are pretty fundamental communication tools now, just as voice has been for many years,” according to Al Moschner, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Leap.
“We continue to learn ourselves about the power of unlimited,” said Moschner. “There’s two ways of looking at it: providing an unlimited feature that you can add as a consumer choice option, or actually integrating it in the service plans, as we have.”
Current Leap customers must sign up for the new plans in order to take advantage of them. Moschner said that the new plans will help broaden the flat-rate carrier’s appeal, as well as boost its customers’ loyalty.
“We think that it’s a very important step for the company to tell our customers, ‘Look, we understand that these are things that you find fundamental to the service. We’ll just make it part of everything that we do.'”
He said that Leap’s customers send messages about four to five times as often as customers of other carriers.
Overall, Leap’s pricing revamp moves the carrier’s entry point up slightly and expands its higher-end plans. For the cheapest rate plan, the cost has increased by $5 from an entry point of $30 per month to $35. The new plans step up in $5 increments, from $35 to $60 per month. The $55 and $60 plans are new price points for Leap; previously, the company’s most expensive calling plan was $50.
The cheapest plan, at $35, includes only unlimited local calling minutes and text, picture and instant messaging. The most expensive plan, at $60, includes unlimited local and national U.S. long distance; unlimited text, picture and instant messaging; voicemail, caller ID, call waiting and three-way calling; local calling in all of Leap’s markets; and 200 roaming minutes. The $55 plan includes 100 roaming minutes.
Both the $55 and $60 plans represent the first time that Leap has included roaming minutes for calling anywhere in the continental United States.
Leap recently introduced a $50 plan that included unlimited mobile Web access; the $50 plan still is the only one to include unlimited use of that particular feature, although the capability can be added to any plan for an additional $5 per month.
Moschner noted that, in running counter to the wireless industry’s current trend toward increasing prices for text messages, Leap will further differentiate itself in the marketplace.
“If the industry is serious about increasing data penetration, raising prices is not the way to do it,” Moschner said.


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