Leap Wireless International Inc., operator of the Cricket and Jump mobile-phone services, said Tuesday that it planned to bid in a U.S. government auction of airwaves in January to expand its network.
Leap will use a subsidiary to bid in the Federal Communications Commission auction, according to a regulatory filing from the San Diego-based company. Denali Spectrum License, a company in which Leap has a noncontrolling interest, also will bid, the company said.
Leap, which sells pay-as-you-go mobile-phone service to customers who lack the credit to qualify for contracts, worked with Denali to buy 100 licenses for almost $1 billion in a similar auction last year. The 700-megahertz airwaves up for sale in 2008 work over long distances and can be used for services such as mobile music and video.
"I'm guessing that they will try to support their spectrum position in markets where they have a weaker hold or need more capacity," said Gray Powell, an analyst at Wachovia Securities Inc. in New York.
AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and Google Inc. are among the companies that plan to bid in the auction, which starts Jan. 24 and may raise as much as $15 billion.