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MVNO Spotlight: Cricket Wireless


Cricket Wireless was founded in the year 1999 by Leap Wireless. The company was initially an independent CDMA wireless network that had a partnership with Sprint. Sprint’s network was used by Cricket to provide domestic roaming for its customers. In July of 2013, Cricket Wireless was purchased by AT&T for the sum of $1.2 billion. About a year later, AT&T decided to kill off its own prepaid brand, AIO Wireless, in favor of merging it with Cricket.


There are a total of 4 phone plans available for purchase and pricing starts at $30/month for a single line. Cricket uses AT&T’s 4G LTE and 5G networks for coverage. Here is a list of the available plan options with the data differences between each plan highlighted.

· $30/month2GB high-speed data

· $40/month10GB high-speed data, $35/month if you enable auto-pay billing

· $55/month – unlimited high-speed data, $50/month if you enable auto-pay billing

· $60/month – unlimited high-speed data plus 15GB hotspot, $55/month if you enable auto-pay billing

What you see is what you pay. Taxes and fees are included with the prices shown.


Different Cricket Wireless phone plans support different features. But there are some features common to all plans. All plans include the following:

· Unlimited Talk

· Unlimited Text

· 4G LTE/5G network access

· HD Voice

· WiFi Calling

· myCricket App to manage account available on both iOS and Android


These are the plan features only available with specific plans:

· 5G Network access – available on all plans. On 10/29/2021, Cricket Wireless announced all its current rate plan customers will get 5G network access

· Hotspot – only natively available on the $60 unlimited plan which includes 15GB of hotspot data

· Mexico and Canada roaming usage – only available on the two unlimited plans

· HD Video streaming – only available on the $30 and $40 plans

· Stream More – feature available to customers on the $30 and $40 plans that reduces video streaming to a resolution of 480p. Stream More helps customers save their high-speed data so that it lasts longer

· Unlimited 2G data – on the $30 and $40 plans, customers that run out of high-speed data have their data speeds reduced to 128Kbps for the rest of their billing cycles.


The Cricket International add-on allows subscribers to call unlimited to landlines in 35 countries. It costs $5/month. Cricket International Extra expands the international options to allow MMS picture messaging to 35 countries and offers 1,000 mobile to mobile minutes to 31 countries. The International Extra option costs $15/month. Also available are individual country add-ons that allow unlimited calling and messaging. Pricing for the add-on depends on the country the subscriber needs to call or text to but ranges between $10-$15/month. Available individual country add-ons include Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Philippines, and Vietnam.


Subscribers that run out of high-speed data during their billing cycles can add more priced at $10 for an additional 1GB. Data does not rollover to the next billing cycle.


Mobile hotspot can be added to Cricket’s $55 plan for an additional $10. The add-on includes 15GB of hotspot data. Hotspot top-ups also cost $10 for 15GB of data. The additional hotspot data top-up does not roll over to the next billing cycle.


Cricket’s two unlimited plans come with a video streaming resolution limit. Videos typically stream at a resolution of about 480p or at a rate of about 1.5Mbps. According to Cricket’s mobile broadband terms and conditions, at any time the network gets congested, data speeds on the $55 unlimited plan may be temporarily slowed until the network congestion gets relieved. Customers on the $60 now have premium data, and will no longer be faced with slow downs compared to other customers when the network gets busy. Cricket updated its plans on 10/29/2021 and began offering premium data with the $60 plan.


The mobile broadband terms and conditions also state that Cricket Wireless will compress images that its subscribers see while browsing websites over the cellular data network. This applies to all of Cricket’s plans. The images get compressed to either JPEG or GIF. The technology is used to help control network bandwidth so that all subscribers have an enjoyable experience while using the network. Images viewed over WiFi are not subjected to Cricket’s image compression algorithms.


If you are using hotspot, there is a limit to the number of devices that can be connected to the phone’s hotspot at once. A maximum of 6 devices can be simultaneously tethered and connected. Even if you have a hotspot-eligible phone plan, Cricket only allows a small number of phones to use the hotspot feature.


Cricket only allows a small number of devices to use its 5G network. If you have or purchase one of the following phones you can use it on Cricket’s 5G network with a compatible plan:

Apple:

· Apple iPhone 12

· Apple iPhone 12 mini

· Apple iPhone 12 Pro

· Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

· Apple iPhone 13

· Apple iPhone 13 mini

· Apple iPhone 13 Pro

· Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Cricket:

· Cricket Dream 5G

LG:

· LG K92™ 5G

Motorola:

· Moto One 5G

· Moto G Stylus 5G

Samsung:

· Cricket Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G

· Cricket Samsung Galaxy A51 5G

· Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

· Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

· Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G


You can expect the list of 5G compatible devices to change over time. For the most up-to-date list of compatible phones, you can check out the list on Cricket’s website. Devices from other networks are not allowed access to Cricket’s 5G network at this time.


All of the single-line plans are available with multi-line discounts except for the $30 plan. No multi-line discounts are available on that plan but you can still have multiple lines on that plan in your account.


Cricket sells data-only plans. You can scroll down below to see the full list. The plans are all compatible with Cricket’s 5G network and all plans include roaming in Mexico and Canada at no additional charge. If you want a data-only plan you’ll have to purchase a 5G hotspot device from Cricket. Customers that run out of data on a data-only plan can add a one time top-up priced at $10 for 15GB.


Subscribers that refer a friend to Cricket Wireless by using their referral link will earn a $25 account credit for every referral. Subscribers that signup for Cricket Wireless through a referral link also earn a $25 account credit. The credits do not get awarded to either account until after the new subscriber has completed 60 days of active service.


A maximum of 10 referral credits can be claimed per calendar year limiting potential earnings to $250. Given that Cricket does not sell any phone plans under $30, customers are unable to earn a year’s worth of free service through the referral program. This is in contrast to many other providers where customers are allowed to earn enough credits to get free service for a year.


Brand new phones can be expensive. If you prefer not to pay for the whole thing at once, Cricket offers a Lease-To-Own phone payment plan option run through Progressive Leasing. No credit is needed to be eligible for the payment plan. However, customers must be 18 years or older, be able to provide a valid ID, a social security number, a credit or debit card, and bank information. A maximum of 5 phones and 5 accessories can be purchased on a lease. Phones qualifying for the lease program must be priced at $149.99 or more after all discounts and promotions are applied. The payment plan option is not available in the following states: MN, NJ, VT, WI, WY. The standard lease-to-own option is for 12-months.


Cricket Wireless offers two different device insurance programs, Cricket Protect which costs $8/month, and Cricket Protect Plus which costs $11/month. Both plans include comprehensive coverage in case of accidental drops, water damage, and screen breaks. However, there are deductibles. There’s a $29 deductible for cracked screen repairs. Deductibles for other incidences may range in price between $10 and $250 and depend on the phone. Both plans also come with online photo and video storage. Users on the basic Cricket Protect plan get 16GB of cloud photo storage. Those subscribed to Cricket Protect Plus get unlimited storage with photos and videos stored at full resolution. For both plans, a maximum of 3 insurance claims are allowed per 12-month period. On the base plan, screen repairs count towards the 3 claim limit. Cricket Protect Plus subscribers get unlimited screen repairs as screen repairs do not count against the 3-claim limit with that plan.


If you already own a phone or device that is compatible with the AT&T network, it should also work with Cricket Wireless. T-Mobile SIM-unlocked phones are also compatible. Most manufacturer unlocked phones sold in the USA including devices from Motorola and Samsung are suitable for use with Cricket Wireless.


You may subscribe to Cricket by visiting any one of their nationwide network of stores or online through their website. It is advised that you do not signup through one of their retail stores, because they charge extra fees when you do. Plans and SIM cards can also be purchased elsewhere often at a discount. Refill and SIM cards can be found at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target.




Network: AT&T


Pros:

  • Great family discount

  • Excellent coverage and reliability

  • No billing surprises

  • No credit check

  • Own new devices free and clear

  • No contract, lease, or obligation

  • Existing numbers can be transferred to Cricket devices

  • Huge AT&T network

  • International calling and texting

  • 5G is available

  • Bring your own phone – larger number of compatible phones than many services

  • Free talk and text with all plans

  • Offers mobile hotspot on the Cricket More plan

  • The contracts here are not for long term.

  • The cost of the plans here is a lot cheaper as compared to the big providers of AT and T providers.



Cons

  • Unhelpful customer service

  • Expensive basic plan compared to the competition

  • Limited add-on bells and whistles like shared data and rollover

  • Limited international roaming

  • Slower speeds than major carriers

  • Additional $10 per month for mobile hotspot

  • Speed limits on most plans

  • The section for the free phone is limited.

  • Less reliable coverage in rural areas



For a full list of Simple Mobile Master Agents click here


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