Leap Wireless is taking the really slow and steady approach to its 4G LTE roll-out.
The prepaid wireless carrier said today that it was bringing 4G to Las Vegas, marking only the second city to get the faster network. The company rolled out its first market, Tucson, Ariz., last December.
At a time when its larger rivals and even fellow prepaid providers have quickly rolled out 4G services, Leap has taken a more deliberate pace. The company, which markets its service under the Cricket brand, expects to launch LTE in additional markets this year, and expects it will be able to cover two-thirds of its territory over the next two to three years.
Leap said more than 80 percent of Las Vegas will be covered by the network. The company offers a 4G LTE modem, the Huawei Boltz, which costs $149.99. Data plans cost between $35 and $80 a month, with the plans varied based on speed.
Leap leap finds itself with fewer options after T-Mobile USA agreed to merge with MetroPCS and Sprint Nextel agreed to be taken over by Japan wireless carrier SoftBank. Leap, which has had a spotty record of customer growth over the last few years, has long been seen as an acquisition target.
The company faces intense competition in the prepaid business, with Tracfone and Wal-Mart's Straight Talk service from the low end and T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile above it.
Leap has attempted to set itself apart through its Muve streaming music service. It was also slow to catch up in the smartphone game, but has more recently made headway in that area.
Similar to smartphones, Leap is trying to play catch up with 4G LTE.