by Christopher Freeburn | August 29, 2012 10:17 am
Cricket Communications, the contract-free wireless phone carrier owned by Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), wants to entice its customers to buy higher-end smartphones. The company currently has about 5.9 million customers.
To that end, its unlimited streaming music service, Muve Music, will no longer be available on basic cell phones. Customers who want the service will have to purchase smartphones that use Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, the Associated Press notes.
Beginning in September, the music service will be included in monthly data plans for Android phones. Customers will pay fees ranging from $50 for one gigabyte of data service to $70 for five gigabytes of data service each month. Muve Music activity will not be counted against data usage caps.
About 60% of Cricket customers already have Android-based phones.
Currently, 600,000 Cricket customers are paying $10 a month above their subscription fees to access Muve Music. The service allows people to download individual songs to their cellphones. However, the songs cannot be moved to other devices, and once the subscription expires, users lose access to the music.
If the plan succeeds, and Cricket customers make the switch to higher-end Android smartphones, Muve Music could see its subscribers top 3 million within two years. That it put it well ahead of Spotify and Rhapsody, the two other major streaming music subscription services, each with about one million current subscribers.
Shares of Leap Wireless slipped fractionally in Wednesday morning trading.
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