Cricket Wireless: 10 Things to Know Before You Sign Up

Cricket Wireless is a popular prepaid carrier that offers a wide selection of free phones and high-end devices like the Cricket Wireless Galaxy S6 on plans that start at $35 a month for smartphones. Before you sign up for Cricket Wireless and spend money on a new phone there are some things you need to know about the service.

We’ll walk you through what Cricket Wireless plans offer, what you need to know about Cricket Wireless phones and other details that customers need to consider when choosing a new carrier. There is no Cricket Wireless iPhone 6, but there is an option to use the iPhone on this carrier.

Advertisement

In the last year Cricket Mobile gained more exposure thanks to a widespread commercials touting the $35 a month plan option that includes taxes and other fees in the base amount, taking the guess-work out of knowing how much you will pay each month.

Read: Galaxy S5 Tips and Tricks

Advertisement

There are no contracts with Cricket Wireless and the payments are month to month. Users can set up auto payments so there is no need to constantly buy refill cards or make a payment.

Advertisement

Here are 9 things that buyers need to know before switching to Cricket Wireless.

What Phones are on Cricket?

The Cricket Wireless phones include a wide selection of smartphones from affordable and even free after rebate options to the latest and greatest like the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Cricket Wireless phones include Windows Phone, Android and iPhone, but not the latest iPhone 6.

The Cricket Wireless phones include many good options, but also bad choices.

The Cricket Wireless phones include many good options, but also bad choices.

Advertisement

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so some of the free phones will not come close to matching the experience of newer devices. Many of the cheapest Cricket Mobile phones are 4G only, which means slower speeds than those with 4G LTE. Keep this in mind if you plan to watch a lot of video or upload and download large files.

The best Cricket Wireless smartphones on sale now are;

  • Motorola Moto E
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • iPhone 5c 16GB and 32GB
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy S6

There are many other options that may perform well, but these devices are proven winners, even the older ones listed above.

Can I Use My Own Phone on Cricket Wireless?

Cricket Wireless lets users bring their own phone to use on the service, but you cannot just bring any phone.

Bring your own phone to Cricket Wireless if it is unlocked and runs on a GSM network.

Bring your own phone to Cricket Wireless if it is unlocked and runs on a GSM network.

Advertisement

For this to work you need an unlocked GSM smartphone. If you are on AT&T you are using a GSM smartphone and you can ask AT&T to unlock your phone after you meet contract stipulations. T-Mobile also uses GSM networks.

You can enter your phone’s IMEI number into the tool on this page to see if it will work with the Cricket Wireless network. If it does you need to buy a Cricket Wireless SIM card and plan. A SIM card is normally 4.99, but it is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time.

Advertisement

Cricket Wireless Plans

Pick the Cricket Wireless plan that fits you.

Pick the Cricket Wireless plan that fits you.

The most recognized Cricket Wireless plan is the Basic Smartphone plan that the company features in commercials for $35 with taxes and fees included. The plan is actually $40 a month, but if you sign up for auto-pay there is a $5 discount on each of these plans. Cricket Wireless plans include a Smart and a Pro option as well.

  • Basic – 2.5GB 4G LTE, Unlimited talk and text – $40
  • Smart – 5GB 4G LTE, Unlimited talk and text, PLUS  – $50
  • Pro – 10GB 4G LTE, Unlimited talk and text, PLUS – $60

The Smart and Pro Cricket Wireless plans include unlimited talk and messaging to Mexico and Canada and Unlimited International texting. This excludes the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Cricket Wireless Coverage Map

The Cricket Wireless coverage map shows a lot of coverage inside the U.S., including parts of Alaska and Hawaii. You can check your Cricket Wireless coverage using their online tool, but in general the coverage matches AT&T.

The Cricket Wireless coverage map matches AT&T.

The Cricket Wireless coverage map matches AT&T.

In early 2015 AT&T bought Cricket Wireless to turn the service into a premium pre-paid brand for the company. With this information we know that Cricket Wireless coverage matches AT&T, as they run on the same towers.

Cricket Wireless Speed Test

When you are on the Cricket Wireless 4G LTE network, you can enjoy decent speeds, but some users report that even with 4G LTE smartphones the speeds are not as good as on AT&T in some areas. The video above shows a Cricket Wireless speed test with 6.72 Mbps down and 2.39Mbps up. The speed and quality of a network can vary dramatically from block to block and building to building.

In the video above you can see how Cricket Wireless speeds compare to T-Mobile. Cricket outlines strict speed caps of 8Mbps down on 4G LTE and 4Mbps down on 4G.

Cricket Wireless iPhone 6

There is still no Cricket Wireless iPhone 6 on sale in the Cricket Wireless store or direct from Apple, but you can use a Cricket iPhone 6.

You can use a Cricket Wireless iPhone 6.

You can use a Cricket Wireless iPhone 6.

You’ll need an unlocked iPhone 6 and a Cricket Wireless SIM. Once you have this you can use the bring your own phone option to bring this unlocked iPhone 6 to Cricket Wireless.

Users don’t need to jailbreak the iPhone to use it on Cricket Wireless. There are instructions to follow to set up a Cricket Wireless iPhone 6 and you will need a Mac or PC running iTunes to download a carrier update. Check out more on how to set up an iPhone 6 on Cricket Wireless.

Cricket Wireless Tethering and Hotspot

There is no Cricket Wireless tethering option or Cricket Wireless mobile hotspot feature to add to the new plans.

A mobile hotspot allows users to share data from the smartphone to a laptop or a tablet. Cricket Mobile offered a service called Cricket Tethering on the older plans, but it is not available to new customers.

The current Cricket Wireless terms outline using apps, adapters or other means to add a Cricket Wireless hotspot option to your phone as misuse and abuse.

Cricket Wireless Software Updates

When you buy a phone on Cricket Wireless, keep in mind that this may impact how fast you get new features.

Cricket Wireless software updates are slower on Android.

Cricket Wireless software updates are slower on Android.

Apple delivers iPhone updates to all eligible iPhones at the same time, so the Cricket Wireless iPhone 5c and a bring your own iPhone 6 will get iOS 8.4, iOS 9 and other updates at the same time as devices on Verizon and AT&T.

Android phones will get new software updates later than on a major carrier. Although the Samsung Galaxy S5 Lollipop update is out on many carriers there is no Cricket Wireless Galaxy S5 Lollipop update yet.

Cricket Wireless Family Plans

If you need more than one phone line on Cricket Wireless you can use their Group Save option to save  up to $100 a month with five eligible lines.

Save with a Cricket Wireless family plan option called Group Save.

Save with a Cricket Wireless family plan option called Group Save.

When you add a second line get a $10 a month discount. The third line gets a $20 discount, fourth line a $30 discount and fifth line a $40 discount. These discounts are monthly so you can save on every bill.

This only works on the new Basic, Smart and Pro plans, not on the basic $25 a month plan or discontinued and grandfathered plans. You cannot get the auto-pay discount with Cricket family plans and data is not shared between phones.

Cricket Wireless Throttling

If you use Cricket Wireless data too much, you can see a reduction in your speeds. If you go over the high-speed allowance that you pay for each month, 2.5GB, 5GB or 10GB, the data speeds will slow for the rest of the month.

Cricket states, “When your data use exceeds the respective high-speed access allowance, your data download speeds will be reduced to a maximum 128Kbps for the remainder of your monthly billing cycle.”

This throttling is not in place for the high-speed data you pay for, and some users will find it nice to still have slower access when they go over the amount they pay for, instead of being cut off completely.