In a Nutshell
- No annual contracts
- AT&T 5G coverage in most areas
- Built-in fraud protection (with compatible phones)
- Limited speeds for all but most expensive plan
- Data speeds may slow down if network is busy
Cricket Wireless at a Glance
Best for: Affordable, no-contract plans with 5G data
Price: $25 - $33 per month per line for 4 users
Plan: Unlimited talk and text with varying high-speed data
Network: AT&T Mobility
Use your own phone: Yes
What Services and Features Does Cricket Wireless Offer
Every Cricket Wireless cell phone plan includes the following built-in features:
- Unlimited talk and text in the U.S.
- HD and Wi-Fi calling (with compatible phone)
- Automatic fraudulent call blocking (with compatible phone)
- Span and telemarketing call warnings (with compatible phone)
- Call authentication using the STIR/SHAKEN industry standard (with compatible phone)
- Option of bringing your own phone or purchasing one from Cricket
- Free next-day shipping on all online orders
- No charges for exceeding your data limit (only a slow down in your data speed)
Prices, Plans and Value for Money
Cricket Wireless offers a choice of four cell phone plans, all with unlimited talk and text but varying amounts of data. The plans are for 2 GB, 10 GB, Unlimited, and Unlimited + 15 GB mobile hotspot. The first two plans aren’t all that useful, given they lack some of the features of the Unlimited plans and actually cost more than the first Unlimited plan.
See the below table for a comparison of the two Unlimited plans, using the price for 4 lines (options range from 1 line to 5 lines). Note that both plans include SD quality video streaming (480p), Mexico and Canada usage (although Canada usage cannot exceed 50%), and unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries.
Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot
In addition to cell phone plans, Cricket Wireless also has 5G data-only plans that you can use on your tablet, smartwatch or other compatible devices. Prices are:
- 20 GB of high-speed data - $35/month per line
- 40 GB of high-speed data - $50/month per line
- 100 GB of high-speed data - $90/month per line
New subscribers have the option of bringing their own device or upgrading to a new one from Cricket Wireless. If you wish to bring your own phone, it must be compatible with the AT&T Mobility network – which you can check by looking for the IMEI device ID number on your phone, then dialling *#06# on your phone.
The activation process is straightforward. Your SIM card (and phone if you order one) will arrive with next-day business shipping along with instructions on how to get started.
Selection of Phones Available
Cricket Wireless sells new Apple, Samsung and LG phones, most of them at a small discount from the regular price. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max costs $949.99 instead of the usual $1,099.99, and the Galaxy S20 + 5G costs $1,099.99, down from $1,199.99. Cricket also offers the option of financing at 0% APR with third-party service Affirm. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $40/month and the Galaxy S20 + 5G starts at $46/month.
If you don’t mind having an older model, Cricket offers a range of $0 phones including the Samsung Galaxy A11, Motorola moto g power, and LG Stylo 6. These are free when you bring your phone number and activate a minimum $60/month plan (which is only possible when purchasing a subscription for just one user).
Cricket Wireless Call and Text Performance
AT&T Mobility offers coverage to 99% of Americans. Based on a study of the IHS Markit RootMetrics map of the AT&T network and reviews from AT&T customers, call performance is good across the vast majority of locations in the United States, with fair or poor performance in only a handful of rural areas.
Cricket Wireless Data Speeds
AT&T Mobility (and by extension, Cricket Wireless) has rolled out 5G coverage to about two-thirds of Americans, with the remaining one-third having to stick with 4G or – in rare cases – 3G. While the 5G rollout continues apace, AT&T does trail behind rivals T-Mobile and Verizon in terms of 5G coverage.
The majority of Cricket Wireless subscribers find the coverage is fast enough to comfortably stream audio and video. However, all subscribers are at risk of being subjected to throttling during peak times, which slows down your data speeds.
Cricket Wireless Customer Service
To speak to customer support, call 1-800-CRICKET (274-2538) or 611 from your phone, Monday to Saturday, 9am – 9pm ET, Sunday, 10am – 9pm ET. You can also speak to a customer service agent via live chat on the Cricket Wireless website during extended business hours, or find answers to frequently asked questions on the Cricket Wireless website.
What People Say About Cricket Wireless
Here are a few selected 5-star reviews from Trustpilot:
“Love it! My family and I have tried all wireless companies from contract to prepay. Once we found Cricket, we've never been happier. We always have the best service, clear calls, no drop in signal, and we actually get what we pay for. Where we live in the country is hard to get a good service, but with Cricket there are no more problems. We've been with them for about 7 years now and don’t plan on leaving.” – Bea
“Looking at the negative reviews, mainly sounds like user errors and they want to blame a company for their mistakes. I’ve never had issues with Cricket, they offer upgraded discounts on the fly. Service is shotty down by Mexico but I’ve had that issue with all my phone providers.” – Branden Benetti
“I always have service when my friends don’t!! I live near the mountains and I STILL have service! The really do have the lowest price for the best service I could ask for. Also, every time I go into a cricket store they are so helpful and nice.” – Molishka Rivas.
Q. What is the difference between Cricket Wireless and AT&T?
A. Cricket Wireless is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., the world’s largest telecommunications company and the world’s largest provider of mobile telephone services. Cricket Wireless and AT&T offer separate cell phone services – with Cricket’s being cheaper overall. Both Cricket Wireless and AT&T use the AT&T Mobility mobile network, which boasts 176.7 million subscribers (at last count).
Q. Does Cricket Wireless throttle or limit data after high usage?
A. Yes. No matter how much data you use in a given month, Cricket Wireless may slow down your data speeds at busy times.
Q. What other benefits are there to joining Cricket Wireless?
A. Cricket Wireless offers regular discounts and deals from its sponsors. At the moment, its main sponsor is WWE, and promotions include virtual meet and greets with wresting superstars.
Overall, Cricket Wireless offers everything parent company AT&T offers in its cell phone plans – and it’s cheaper in most situations. Subscriptions for one or two users are a little pricey, but if you’re purchasing for three or four users then Cricket Wireless offers affordable and commitment-free access to the best of AT&T Mobility’s high-speed data network, including 5G access in most areas.