Serves 40 Markets in 20 States

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- San Diego-based Leap Wireless International has begun a review for an agency for its anticipated $15 million to $20 million advertising account, an executive close to the situation said today.

A Leap spokeswoman confirmed the review, but declined to give additional details. The knowledgeable executive said eight agencies from around the U.S. are in contention for the account. Johnson Group, Chattanooga, Tenn., is the incumbent.

Chapter 11
The company, which was spun off from Qualcomm in 1998, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. Leap unit Cricket Communications has 1.5 million wireless customers in 40 markets in 20 states. The brand initiated an unlimited, flat-rate local-calling service.

The Leap spokeswoman said the wireless marketer has "an innovative branding strategy" that positions it against local phone companies. She said 37% of Cricket customers use only Cricket's wireless service and have no home telephone service.

Leap spent $27.5 million in measured media in 2002, and $2.1 million for the first quarter of 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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