Leap Wireless loses Cricket customers in 2Q

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Leap Wireless International Inc., the parent of the Cricket cellular service, on Wednesday posted a wider loss for the second quarter as it lost subscribers and sold more smartphones at a loss.

Its shares plunged 54 cents, or 5 percent, to $9.50 in aftermarket trading. That comes on top of two days of losses in regular trading after MetroPCS Communications Inc., a similar carrier, reported weak results for the quarter.

If the aftermarket trading levels persist into Thursday’s regular trading, the stock could set a new all-time low.

The San Diego-based company said it lost a net 103,000 subscribers in the April to June period, ending with 5.7 million. It gained some phone customers but lost far more wireless broadband customers, as it has stopped marketing this service due to the load the users place on its network.

Leap’s net loss was $65.2 million, or 85 cents per share. In the same quarter a year ago, it lost $18.2 million, or 24 cents per share.

Revenue was $760.5 million, up from $667.3 million a year ago.

Leap’s customers mostly have low incomes, a characteristic it shares with MetroPCS. MetroPCS management said it appears that the weak economy is hitting its customer base, some of whom are finding it hard to come up with the $40 or $50 monthly service fees.