I finally decided to switch to Cricket Wireless from AT&T and all I can say is that I wish I would have made the switch sooner. My old plan with AT&T dates back tonight and weekend minutes with rollover (if you remember those days). Since I have an old flip phone or what they also call a “Go Phone”, I did not have any data.
It is important to note that my base plan cost was $29.99 but after taxes and other fees added on my bill was over $38 without unlimited talk and no text or data.
I was able to keep the same phone and the same phone number which was important to me. The first part of the journey sent me to Best Buy to purchase a Cricket sim card Activation kit for $9.99 (plus tax) (or Amazon). Then I had AT&T send me an Unlock Code via email which allowed me to unlock my phone and “port” my phone number to Cricket. I then called Cricket and spent about 20 minutes on the phone giving them my IMEI # and the Cricket sim card # so they could activate my new service saving the $25 activation fee they would have charged me in a Cricket store. I simply replaced my AT&T sim card with the Cricket sim card and I instantly had new service.
Now I have unlimited talk and text for $25 per month and there are no taxes or additional fees. The coverage is very good because they use AT&T towers and AT&T owns Cricket Wireless to some extent. This is their least expensive plan and since I have a flip phone – which everyone still laughs at – I had to take that plan. There is no data because you need a smartphone for the plan which offers 2GB for only $30. For $40 per month, you can get 5GB. And if you buy 4 lines for $100 you can get unlimited data. This is the best plan if you have 4 lines because you get everything for $25 per line.
I also gave them a credit card and had them sign me up for Auto Pay so it charges my card each month and I don’t have to worry about getting the bill paid which can be a problem with some pre-paid services. Cricket will also charge a $3 fee to process your payment if you talk to a live representative. So it is best to pay online or to be on AutoPay.
My final step was to go onto the Cricket Wireless website and create my account with a username and password so I can manage my account online. They also have a toll free phone number and you can talk to a live person if need be. Their website is incredible. It has a chat online feature, shows its nationwide coverage areas, answers common questions, shows you their rate plans, has phones for sale, and is very easy to maneuver.
I would recommend Cricket Wireless for all these reasons and if you refer someone you will get a referral fee credit to your bill. They also have next day shipping on their phones and free activation if you activate online or over the phone.
- You cannot keep your old number when you buy a cricket phone if you are coming from another carrier so if my phone breaks I have to find another unlocked phone with IMEI # to re-activate to keep my same number
- They only have one flip phone sold in the stores because they prefer smartphones with higher monthly fees
- Unlimited data costs more
- The Cricket stores charge a $25 activation fee
- Coverage out west in some states according to their coverage map looks like there are some areas with no coverage
- $25 per month for unlimited talk and text is cheap and there are no taxes or additional fees
- I have had no problems with coverage and reception is great
- I could keep my phone and same phone number
- You can buy the Cricket sim card activation kit at Walmart, Best Buy, Target or online
- They reward you monetarily for referrals through a credit on your bill
- They sell phones which are inexpensive and there is a big selection on their website and they offer next day shipping
- They do have a lot of Cricket stores if you want to deal face to face with a representative and see the phone before you buy
- AutoPay or paying online is convenient and saves you $3 per month – another environmental plus is paperless billing
- Their website is user friendly, they have online chat, and a toll-free number where the reps are very helpful when they activated my new sim card and I lost the call the same rep called me back after I put in the new sim card to finish my activation – they are patient and answered all my questions – super customer support available every day
Comparison of other MVNOs
|MVNO||Network Used||Plan Price|
|Calls to Mexico & Canada Included in Plan||Customer Service||Plan Friendliness|
(Ability to uprade / downgrade at will)
|Boost||Sprint||$35 (Unlimited / 3GB data)||$5 extra||Fair||1 month notice||No|
|Consumer Cellular||AT&T, T-Mobile||$15 (250 min / no data) AARP members can get 15% discount.||International direct dial||Good||Anytime||-|
|Cricket||AT&T||$25 (Unlimited Talk / Text Plan)||Smart / Pro Plans only||Fair||2x per billing cycle||No|
|Gen Mobile||Sprint||$5 (Unlimited text)||Yes (over 101 countries)||Good||Yes||Yes|
|Republic Wireless||Sprint, T-Mobile||$15 (Unlimited talk / text), + $5/GB||No||Fair (Most CS logged to community)||2x per billing cycle||Yes|
|Straight Talk Wireless||AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon||$35 (Unlimited text/talk + 2GB)||Add-on||Good||Anytime||No|
|Tello||Sprint||$5 (100 min / Unlimited text)||Yes (texts and MMS only)||Good||Anytime||Yes|
|Ting||Sprint, T-Mobile||$15 (100 min / MB / text. Plans based on what you use). Offers $50 credit upon signup||Yes||Good||Okay||Yes|
|TracFone||Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint Corporation, and U.S. Cellular||$14.25 for auto-renew (200 min / 500 texts / 500mb)||No||Fair||Okay||No|
|Twigby||Sprint, Verizon||$9.00 (Text + 300min + WiFi only)||Yes (and China)||Good||Yes||Yes|
|UNREAL||Sprint||$10 (Unlimited text + talk + data - up to 1GB)||No||Fair||Yes||No|
|Visible||Verizon (Visible is not considered a traditional MVNO)||$40 (unlimited talk,text and data)||No||Good||Only one plan offered||Yes|