Cricket Wireless Review – Prepaid, No Contract Phone Service

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cricket wireless reviews

The following review is written by fellow TTG reader, Mike. He switched from AT&T to Cricket Wireless and details his experience with the service. If you ever have a product or service that you’d like to review at the site (and we haven’t covered it yet) – please shoot us a note.

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 to night 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.

cricket

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 smart phone 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.

Cricket Wireless plans
Run-down of Cricket Wireless plans

unlimited 4 lines plan

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 Auto Pay.

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 their 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.

Coverage

coverage map
Cricket coverage map (Courtesy of Cricket)

Cons

  • 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 smart phones 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

Pros

  • $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
  • Auto Pay 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 everyday

Read Cricket reviews from other sites, including Clark Howard and Tom’s Guide.

Comparison of other MVNOs

MVNONetwork UsedPlan Price
(Min. available)
Calls to Mexico & Canada Included in PlanCustomer ServicePlan Friendliness
(Ability to uprade / downgrade at will)
Free Tethering
BoostSprint$35 (Unlimited / 3GB data)$5 extraFair1 month noticeNo
Consumer CellularAT&T, T-Mobile$15 (250 min / no data) AARP members can get 15% discount.International direct dialGoodAnytime-
CricketAT&T$25 (Unlimited Talk / Text Plan)Smart / Pro Plans onlyFair2x per billing cycleNo
Gen MobileSprint$5 (Unlimited text)Yes (over 101 countries)GoodYesYes
Republic WirelessSprint, T-Mobile$15 (Unlimited talk / text), + $5/GBNoFair (Most CS logged to community)2x per billing cycleYes
Straight Talk WirelessAT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon$35 (Unlimited text/talk + 2GB)Add-onGoodAnytimeNo
TelloSprint$5 (100 min / Unlimited text)Yes (texts and MMS only)GoodAnytimeYes
TingSprint, T-Mobile$15 (100 min / MB / text. Plans based on what you use). Offers $50 credit upon signupYesGoodOkayYes
TracFoneVerizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint Corporation, and U.S. Cellular$14.25 for auto-renew (200 min / 500 texts / 500mb)NoFairOkayNo
TwigbySprint, Verizon$9.00 (Text + 300min + WiFi only)Yes (and China)GoodYesYes
UNREALSprint$10 (Unlimited text + talk + data - up to 1GB)NoFairYesNo
VisibleVerizon (Visible is not considered a traditional MVNO)$40 (unlimited talk,text and data)NoGoodOnly one plan offeredYes

Cricket Wireless

Starting at $25/mo
8.8

Onboarding

8.5/10

Reliability

9.0/10

Customer Service

9.0/10

Performance

8.5/10

Thriftiness

8.8/10

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5 comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I was cricket’s biggest fan for years! I had a flip phone with unlimited data and messaging for a total of $25 a month. Awesome! No problems! Then I got a smart phone with a 2GB data plan. In over a year I never exceeded the data limit. Not even close! All I ever did was read news articles on the internet. Never streamed movies. Never watched youtube videos. Even those times when I was away from wifi and using the phone constantly, I never exceeded the limit…until now.

    About a year after signing up for the plan, I suddenly used up all my data by the middle of the month. The next month all my data was used up by the fourth of the month. And this month my data was gone by the second of the month. I can still access the internet, but the speeds are very slow and “somehow” the sites I most frequently access don’t even connect for hours. The scam is utterly transparent. Cricket is causing my data usage to be falsely exceeded very quickly so that I am forced to upgrade to a more expensive plan. I expect that if I upgraded to anything but the unlimited plan, the same thing would happen in a year.

    Their customer service people might as well be robots, for all the help they offer. They simply keep repeating that you have used all your data and suggest that the real culprit is mysterious apps that are downloading all the data…even though I’ve disabled automatic updates. Cricket is running a very dishonest and illegal scam. I would advice people to stay away.

  2. DH says:

    I receive at least ten “robocalls” daily with this new “service”. None of these calls are for me – they are for the previous person who had the Cricket phone number. Pretty crappy if you ask me.

    Canceled the service in 60 days. OH, and the only way to cancel the Cricket service is to just stop paying. This is straight from Cricket’s website and the Rep’s mouth. How ghetto.

    So long.

  3. Bruce says:

    Had Cricket for 3 years, but recently went to Verizon (due to slightly better coverage while hiking remote areas).

    Absolutely no problems with Cricket. Saved about $700 a year vs. old plan. Great in store and phone customer service. Highly recommended.

  4. MoneyAhoy says:

    I have had Cricket for a couple of years now and think it’s great. We have 5 lines for $100 total. So, it ends up being only $20 per phone for unlimited calls and 5GB. I highly recommend it to everyone!

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