Cricket Wireless: 5 things to know before you switch

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cricket wireless
Image Credit: Cricket Wireless
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If you’re looking to change your wireless carrier and you’re over the quadropoly of the Big 4 — that’s AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — you may want to check out Cricket Wireless.

Cricket offers cheap plans and reliable service, with no annual contract to boot.

RELATED: Best cell phone plans and deals right now

Cricket Wireless: Here’s what you need to know

I recently made the switch to Cricket after grabbing a great $40 unlimited data, talk and text plan that they were offering when you ported a number in.

While this deal is no longer running, there are still some great deals and you can even get a free low-end Android phone when you port your number, in some cases.

Here’s what you need to know before making the switch…

1. Cricket runs on the AT&T Network

The Big 4 wireless carriers like to maintain premium pricing for their flagship brands. But they all have secret discount brands for price-sensitive customers.

For AT&T, that’s Cricket Wireless. As a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T, Cricket Wireless offers the same service, the same towers, the same everything you’re used to with AT&T.

Prices start at $30 a month for a plan with unlimited talk and text and 2GB of data. That’s practically unheard of from a Big 4 wireless carrier.

And, as we said, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have their own discount sub-brands, too.

Sprint’s is called Boost Mobile; T-Mobile has GoSmartMobile; and Verizon’s discount brand is known as Total Wireless. Price points generally start around $25 to $35 a month for the same towers and the same service you could pay a lot more for.

2. Take a look at Cricket’s current offers

At the time of this writing, Cricket’s current offers include $30 a month with 2GB 4G LTE; $55 a month for unlimited 4G LTE data with auto-pay; or four lines of unlimited service for $100 a month, among other deals.

And, here’s a bonus: All Cricket plans include monthly taxes and there’s never any annual contract or overages.

Check out the latest Cricket Wireless offers here.

3. Which phones run on Cricket?

Cricket supports many popular smartphones from Samsung, iPhone, Nokia and other manufacturers.

You can also bring your own unlocked Apple or Android phone and just pay $10 to get a Cricket SIM card. See if your current phone is compatible here.

There’s even a selection of free phones that are available when you port your existing number from another carrier (excluding AT&T) over to Cricket:

cricket wireless free phones

4. Cricket has more than 9 million subscribers

AT&T acquired Cricket in 2014 when the service had 4.5 million subscribers. Today, Cricket has doubled its customer count and crossed the 9 million-member threshold in just four short years.

That’s probably due in part to the fact that Cricket was ranked #1 in the wireless category in Forrester’s annual 2017 U.S. Customer Experience Index study.

5. New: Check out this $25 account credit referral program

Have a friend who’s already on Cricket Wireless? You can earn a $25 credit when you sign up, and so can they through Cricket’s new referral program.

“Cricket customers simply send a unique referral code from their myCricket account (online or via the myCricket app), and the customer and their friend each receive an automatic [$25] credit after 60 days of the new service if the accounts are not cancelled,” the official announcement reads.

This program went into effect on April 22, 2018. There’s a $250 limit on this offer per calendar year per line.

My Cricket Wireless review…

I’ve been with Cricket for about three months now and love it. I grabbed an unlimited data, talk and text plan for $40 a month with auto-pay that they’ve since stopped offering. And because I was porting in a number from Ting, I also scored a free phone.

One word of advice: Because I was with a smaller player like Ting, the first Cricket Wireless store I went to had some difficulty porting my number in. For a day, I was stuck in limbo with Ting saying my number was now officially a Cricket number and the Cricket associate who was trying to help me disavowing that and saying my number wasn’t in his system.

I walked away frustrated from that first attempt to port my number. But the next day, I went to a different Cricket store and spoke with a different associate who was able to help me secure my number. Thanks, Guillermo!

So the moral of the story is if you’re porting over from a smaller carrier like I did, you may encounter a little interference. But that can be remedied by working with an associate who knows how to get things done.

Oh, and if you’re going to put your monthly bill on auto-pay, considering doing it on a card that will pay to replace your stolen or damaged cell phone.

The credit card I use to pay my monthly Cricket bill offers up to $600 protection after a $25 deductible, so I don’t need to buy phone insurance through my wireless provider or any other third party.

Just remember to pay that credit card off in full each month or the interest you accrue will negate any savings you get from not needing mobile phone insurance.

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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