Cricket Wireless review: What you need to know
Cricket Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses the AT&T network for its service and is one of the best cell phone providers around. That means a wide range of coverage with excellent reliability but, thanks to the nature of the prepaid service, you can make huge savings on deals too.
You won't need a credit check for these deals and the price you get is what you pay, without extra fees like some of the big network names will drop on you. So, in short, you get a lot of the benefits of a big network while making a saving at the same time.
The catch? Despite being unlimited plans, there is a cap on data with some options topping out at 8Mbps but unlimited capped at 3Mbps. So while you still get all the data you could want, it might just be a little slower than some of the big name competition.
If you already have a phone that's compatible then you can bring that, saving you money there, or buy one of the options from Cricket directly. Or buy one elsewhere and bring that over - you're pretty free with this option.
Cricket Wireless features physical stores across the US in all 50 states, over 4,300 in fact, meaning there should be one near you. A great track record for customer service should mean you're happy long after joining this network provider.
Cricket Wireless review: Plans
- Unlimited from $40 per month
- 2GB data minimum from $30 per month
Cricket Wireless has a selection of unlimited plans which start from $40 all in and go up to $60. Or, if you prefer to make an even bigger saving, at the cost of data, then there is a 2GB plan for $30 or a 5GB options for $40 per month.
The catch is in the data speeds. So those minimal 2GB and 5GB plans will cap you at 8Mbps LTE. Go for the more expensive $55 per month unlimited plan and you're capped at 3Mbps. If you want the fastest data speeds you'll need to spring for the top $60 plan. This top-end plan also includes 15GB of hotspot data, something you have to pay more for on the other plans.
There is also an unlimited $40 plan but that's a deal for when you bring your own phone and number across from another network.
A nice touch is that all unlimited plans include talk, text and data to and from Mexico and Canada as standard.
Cricket Wireless review: Coverage and performance speeds
- AT&T network
- 4G LTE speeds
Since Cricket Wireless uses the AT&T network is claims to cover a massive 99 percent of Americans. While rural areas will struggle a bit, this is the case for most networks. AT&T is rated as the second best in the US by RootMetrics so it's a tough one to top unless you're Verizon.
The result should be reliable coverage for talk, text and data. Of course this will vary depending where you are so it's always a good idea to check out the coverage map on the Cricket Wireless site to make sure you're going to actually get that great coverage.
Cricket Wireless review: Perks
- AutoPay savings
- Great customer care
Cricket Wireless offers some great payment options to help not only make things easier but to save you money too. If you decide to talk to a live representative to make payment then you'll need to pay a $3 fee which is why AutoPay is a great option. You won't be charged that fee if you either pay online each month or give over your credit card details to set up AutoPay. This will then take the money automatically so you don't need to worry about that hassle each month. If your deal is $40 per month or more then you will save $5 per month by using AutoPay.
There are over 4,300 Cricket Wireless stores so you can always go in and chat face to face with someone if you have an issue. That said, the website is very user friendly and full of useful information. If that still leaves you scratching your head and you don't want to go in store then there is an online chat option as well as a toll free number you can call. Whatever way you get in contact, customer support is excellent.
Cricket Wireless review: What users say
- ConsumerAffairs rating of one star
- BBB rating of A+
Cricket Wireless has a tip-top A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) despite not be accredited - a rarity indeed. That said, the customer reviews rating averages at just one star from 98 reviews.
The ConsumerAffairs rating is also low at one star from 167 reviews. Positives include affordability, worry-free use and customer care. Negatives include number porting issues, plan changing problems and own phone usage failures.
Cricket Wireless review: Verdict
Cricket Wireless is an affordable way to get unlimited talk, text and data on a good network with wide coverage and reliable stability. Thanks to the AT&T network supporting this MVNO you don't need to sacrifice quality to save money and to get out of a credit check contract.
Plans are affordable with a few options although hotspot can cost you more. That said, talk, text and data to and from Mexico and Canada are free. Data is capped at 3Mbps for unlimited plans which explains the price savings.
Customer service is excellent although there are numerous poor consumer reviews online. That said, on the whole, this is an excellent MVNO with a solid network.
If you're undecided on the handset you want, check out our best smartphone guide, while we also rank the best prepaid cell phone plans. Take a look at our cell phone coverage map of the US to find out who has the best network in America.