Purchase of Wireless Business in Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C., Complements Existing Cricket Markets
SAN DIEGO, Calif., and HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – December 12, 2007 – Cricket Communications, Inc., a leading provider of unlimited wireless services and the operating subsidiary of Leap Wireless International, Inc. [NASDAQ: LEAP], today announced that it has signed an agreement with Hargray Communications Group, Inc. to acquire Hargray’s wireless telecommunications business and bring Cricket service to the Savannah, Ga. and Hilton Head, S.C. areas. Under the agreement, Cricket will acquire Hargray Wireless LLC, including its 15 MHz wireless spectrum license, its wireless network and the majority of its wireless customer base. Hargray’s wireline and wireless bundled customers will remain with Hargray and be able to receive Cricket service under a wholesale arrangement to be entered into between the parties upon the closing of the transaction. Hargray’s wireless license spans approximately 817,000 licensed POPs with a network that covers 695,000 POPs. Upon closing of the transaction, all wireless subscribers in the BTA will be transitioned onto Cricket’s unlimited wireless plans or a Hargray bundle that includes Cricket service. Under terms of the transaction, Cricket will pay Hargray approximately $30 million.
“By purchasing Hargray’s wireless business we are able to not only increase our speed to market but also avoid much of the cost associated with building a market from the ground up,” said Doug Hutcheson, president and CEO of Cricket. “Hargray’s footprint in the Savannah, Hilton Head and surrounding areas complement our newly launched Charleston, S.C., market as well as our existing Carolinas cluster. We believe that this collaboration is another positive step in Cricket’s growth, as it will provide our current customer base with even more value, especially as they travel on the Eastern Seaboard.”
“This agreement will provide Hargray’s customers with access to the state-of-the-art wireless services of a growing coast-to-coast carrier, while continuing to have access to technologically advanced wireline voice, video and broadband services from Hargray, a locally-based company that has served customers in the Low Country of South Carolina for over five decades,” said Michael Gottdenker, chairman and CEO of Hargray. “We are excited to enter into this relationship with Cricket.”
Under the wholesale agreement to be entered into between the parties upon closing of the transaction, Cricket service will be available as part of Hargray’s value-added bundled services, which include wireline phone service, high-speed Internet access, cable television and wireless communications. That bundled service offering is currently available to customers in the Hilton Head, S.C. and surrounding areas, including Beaufort and Jasper counties S.C. and Pooler, Ga.
Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Cricket expects the purchase to be completed in the first half of 2008. RBC Daniels acted as an advisor to Hargray in this transaction.
Cricket is a simple, affordable wireless service offering consumers and local businesses a flat-rate unlimited service over the latest technology, high-quality, all-digital CDMA2000 1X and 1xEV-DO wireless network. Designed for customers whose basic and advanced wireless needs have not been met by traditional communications companies, Cricket is the pioneer of unlimited services with no long-term commitments or credit checks required. Cricket offers customers access to a variety of the latest devices and feature-rich mobile applications such as unlimited text, instant and picture messaging, Mobile Web, popular games, ringtones and wallpapers. For more information on Cricket, visit www.mycricket.com. Cricket services are offered by Leap Wireless International, Inc., headquartered in San Diego, Calif. (NASDAQ symbol: LEAP). For more information on Leap, visit www.leapwireless.com.
Headquartered in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Hargray is a quadruple-play provider of state-of-the-art telecommunications and related services primarily in Beaufort and Jasper counties in South Carolina. The company’s service offerings include wired and wireless telephone, high-speed Internet and cable and IP television. In addition, the company operates a telephone directory publishing business. For more information, please visit www.hargray.com.
Forward looking statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements reflect management’s current expectations based on currently available information, but are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in or implied by the forward-looking statements and are generally identified with words such as “believe,” “intend,” “plan,” “could,” “may” and similar expressions. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could affect these forward-looking statements include, among other things, those factors detailed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” included in the periodic reports that Leap Wireless International, Inc. files with the SEC, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2007.
All forward-looking statements included in this news release should be considered in the context of these risk factors. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Investors and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.
Greg Lund, Media Relations
James Seines, Investor Relations
Hargray Communications Group, Inc.
Eddie Andrews, Community Relations