Talk about bucking today’s trend.
Image © Cricket Communications
Within all the doom and gloom in today’s crippled economy, we’re now treated with the news of one wireless company actually expanding to a new service area and hiring thousands of new employees to do so.
Cricket Wireless from San Diego-based Cricket Communications, which is a division of Leap Wireless, says it’s ready to expand its low-cost wireless service to its largest market yet: Chicago.
To fuel the expansion, Cricket says it will hire approximately 2,150 employees in Chicago and the suburbs of Chicago beginning next week.
About 350 of these people will work in Cricket’s Chicago office while another 1,800 will work at Cricket stores, according to the Daily Herald. These stores sell Cricket service and phones from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and other manufacturers.
Now I didn’t just notice this story because I happen to live in Chicago. Beginning in the middle of 2009, this means Windy City residents will have access to Cricket’s low-cost unlimited cell phone service.
The all-unlimited plan includes all your anytime minutes, night and weekend minutes, U.S. long distance, text messaging, picture messaging, video messaging, mobile Web usage and 411 calls on your cell phone.
By contrast, Virgin Mobile (a Sprint reseller) offers an unlimited plan for $79.99 per month while Sprint charges $89 for the equivalent. T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon all charge $99.
The catch? The Cricket service is only good for unlimited usage in Cricket’s markets. Cricket service covers 50 markets in 29 states, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. If a Cricket customer moves beyond its service area, pricey roaming charges are incurred.
For some, that could be your deal killer. While the company is clearly expanding, the service can’t currently offer you the thorough U.S. coverage of the major wireless carriers.
While Cricket does require a $15 activation fee, though, another perk is it has no service contract, deposit or early termination fee. That’s something the big wireless boys won’t currently offer to you.
Aug. 25, 2009 update: In competition with Cricket, prepaid wireless carrier PlatinumTel on Aug. 25, 2009 unveiled an unlimited plan for $50 a month.