Cricket Wireless is the no-contract subsidiary of AT&T, which previously went by the name AIO Wireless, until AT&T bought the Cricket brand in 2014 from its founder Leap Wireless. You may have seen the company’s TV commercials that show odd-looking green cartoon creatures that look a little like Star Trek’s tribbles. However, they are a major force in the growing trend towards more mobile phone buyers getting cheaper handsets and paying up front for them
There are a couple of nice things about using Cricket plans. One is that the phones connect to AT&T’s network. That means that you can bring almost any unlocked phone that can uses GSM wireless hardware and you should be good to go with Cricket. The other thing is that they have a variety of plans designed to fit pretty much anyone, even folks who just want a phone to talk with and not any of those smartphone features that the kids like so much.
Best Cricket phones (June 2017)
Other perks for all of Cricket plans include no surprise charges, what they list is what you pay, and pretty decent discounts for multiple lines.
We are taking a look at the pretty straight forward plans you can sign up for at Cricket Wireless. Be aware that if you buy a phone directly from Cricket and sign up to use one of its plans, it cannot be unlocked to be used on any other network besides AT&T for at least six months after you purchase it.
Limited Cricket plans
If you just want to get network access for your phone with calling and text services only, Cricket Wireless has you covered with a plan that costs just $25 a month. It offers unlimited calls and texts in the US, but does not support sending any picture or video-based messages. And it has no data at all.
If you want at least a little bit of data, Cricket has a plan with unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of high-speed LTE data for $30 a month. Going up to $40 a month raises the high-speed data limit to 4G with the same features. $50 a month on Cricket’s plan increases the high-speed data limit to 8 GB, and even throws in unlimited calls, texts and picture messages to and from Mexico, Canada from the U.S, along with unlimited texting to 38 other countries.
If you need multiple lines, Cricket also has great discounts on that, which we’ll talk about a bit later in the post.
Unlimited Cricket plan
There are actually two unlimited Cricket plans, but first we’ll focus on the one you’d actually want. For just $60 a month, you can sign up for Cricket’s Unlimited plan. It offers unlimited talk, text and high-speed data in the US for one line, and all of the other features found in the $50 a month plan. Be aware that there is a maximum download speed of 8 Mbps for all Cricket plans, including the unlimited plan. Also, if you are one of the few users that exceeds 22 GB of data before the end of the billing period, you may find that your phone’s download speeds have been cut down for the rest of that period.
Just like with the limited Cricket plans, there’s also discounts for multiple lines which we’ll explain in just a little bit. Before we do that, we’ll briefly talk about “Cricket Unlimited 2” — their other plan. We’ll say it right now, you more than likely don’t want Unlimited 2. Basically, for $55 you can get unlimited talk, text, and data with the same caveats as listed in the normal unlimited plan. But there’s also one more caveat: your speeds are limited to just 3 MBPS. These kinds of speeds are fine for light users, but it basically kills the point of having unlimited data.
If for some reason you do want the Unlimited 2 plan, right now you can get 2 lines for $80, which isn’t too bad… if you don’t have a need for speed.
Lastly we want to mention that Cricket uses a feature called Stream More for all of its Cricket Wireless plans. It is turned on by default and will reduce some high-definition streaming video down to 480p resolution. This feature, designed mostly for the limited Cricket phone plans to help customers save their cellular data, can be turned on or off at any time.
Multi-line discounts explained
Have a family, or group of friends? You can save big with Cricket. Basically it works like this — first line, pay full price. Second line you a $10 discount, third line gives you an extra $20 discount, third gives you an extra $20, 4th gives you an extra $30, and 5th gives you an extra $40. The total discount for five lines is $100. If you need more lines however, there will be no further discounts.
The discounts only apply to 4GB, 8GB, and unlimited Cricket phone plans, however. That means that the Talk & Text and 1GB plans aren’t eligible. Still, this is a pretty good deal. If you have five lines with the 4GB plan on each, you’d only be paying $20 per line… that’s pretty affordable.
Keep in mind that you’ll only get one bill, but the good news is that family and friends don’t need access to your Cricket account to pay their share. Cricket has a quick pay feature that just lets you put in your number and send a payment, it’ll credit the account associated with the number, so no need to give out your account login to a bunch of people.
Cricket plan add-ons
Most Cricket wireless plans support a number of optional add-ons that offer extended features. For an additional $5 a month, you can add Cricket International, which supports unlimited calls to landline phones from the US to 36 countries. If you pay an extra $15 a month, that provides access to Cricket International Plus, which also offers unlimited landline calling to 36 countries, plus unlimited picture and video messaging to those same countries. Finally, it offers 1,000 minutes of mobile-to-mobile calls a month to 32 countries. In addition, the carrier offers special add-on plans for people who just want to call specific countries.
Finally, you can add mobile hotspot data for supported phones on Cricket for an add-on price of $10 a month. This is available for all of the carrier’s limited plans but is not supported if you sign up for the $60 a month unlimited plan. It’s also worth noting that tethering is only officially supported with phones bought via Cricket.
Even though its phones connect to AT&T’s network, the plans for Cricket Wireless are for the most part pretty bare bones when it comes to features. You won’t find any fancy stuff like free access to HBO or a way to combine your plan with a DirecTV subscription. However, if you want to save some money, this is not a bad choice, especially if you already have an unlocked GSM phone that you bought on Amazon and you need multiple lines. The unlimited plan is also pretty reasonable for families who, again, want to save some money and already have existing phones they wish to use.
What do you think of the Cricket phone plans the prepaid carrier currently offers? Let us know your thoughts!