Cricket Wireless is one of the biggest names in prepaid, but should you switch to this low-cost cell phone service provider?
Money expert Clark Howard is a former Cricket Wireless customer. He says the carrier’s regular rates aren’t typically the lowest, but its limited-time deals on plans and devices can be hard to beat.
In this article, we’ll review the top things you need to know before you sign up with Cricket. Let’s get started!
1. Plans and Pricing
Cricket Wireless offers four main plans: two unlimited plans and two fixed-data plans. The cheapest plan starts at $30 a month for a single line of service.
With all Cricket plans, taxes are included in the price and there’s no contract or credit check required.
|Single Line Price||Plan|
|$60/month||Unlimited + 15GB Mobile Hotspot|
As you can see, Cricket’s rate plans for a single line of service aren’t exactly cheap. But Cricket becomes a better value when additional lines are added and auto pay discounts are applied.
For example, one of Cricket’s long-running promotions is four lines of unlimited for $100 a month.
2. Network Coverage
Cricket Wireless launched its 5G nationwide network in August of 2020. The carrier is owned by AT&T and runs on AT&T’s network, but there are some areas where roaming coverage may be different.
That’s not uncommon with prepaid carriers, so always check the coverage map online before you get started.
As you’re reviewing Cricket’s plans, make note of the fine print. Depending on the plan, Cricket may slow data when the network is busy or restrict data speeds to 8 Mbps.
Although 8 Mbps isn’t fast, you can surf the web, watch videos and stream music at that speed.
3. Additional Features
Cricket Wireless has simple plans with fewer perks compared to the major carriers. However, Cricket offered a 30-day free trial of HBO Max in August of 2020 for a limited time.
Other features will vary depending on the Cricket Wireless plan that you choose.
For example, the Cricket More unlimited data plan offers 15GB of mobile hotspot, but that’s an additional charge with the cheaper Cricket Core unlimited plan.
Both unlimited plans offer SD quality video streaming, not HD.
And Cricket Core and Cricket More include usage in Mexico and Canada, plus unlimited texting from the United States to a few dozen countries.
4. Phone Selection
When you switch to Cricket Wireless, you can choose to buy a new phone or keep your existing device if it’s compatible. Either way, you can keep your phone number.
If you want to bring your own phone, start here and enter your device’s IMEI.
If you’re not bringing an existing device, you’ll want to purchase a new one from Cricket Wireless.
The carrier offers dozens of smartphones at every price point. When we last checked Cricket’s phone deals and sorted by the most popular devices, the results included some free phones!
To get a phone for $0, you usually have to bring your number to the service and activate it on a plan that qualifies.
Cricket now offers a phone payment plan through Progressive Leasing, but that shouldn’t be necessary for most people since there are so many devices for $100 or less.
5. Customer Service
Cricket Wireless offers more customer service options than many of its prepaid competitors. That’s because Cricket has retail stores across the country where you can get help with your account.
In addition, customer support is available through live chat and by phone. The number is 1-800-CRICKET.
Some online-only wireless carriers have limited customer support to just chat. The availability of in-person and phone customer service sets Cricket apart.
If you have feedback about Cricket’s customer care, add to our review in the comments below.
If you’re looking to switch from AT&T to Cricket Wireless, you’ll save the most money if you can take advantage of the four lines for $100 a month promotion.
But Cricket’s best deals come with drawbacks, including slower data speeds. That may be a dealbreaker for you.
Learn more and compare your options in Team Clark’s guide to the best cell phone plans and deals!
This article was originally written by Michael Timmermann and published on April 30, 2018.