Cricket might seem like a new wireless brand, but they've been selling prepaid wireless services for more than a dozen years. Their plans, which offer unlimited services for a flat monthly fee, have become popular among value-conscious consumers.
Pros: With plans that range from 35 to 70 dollars per month, Cricket can fit any budget. They have an increasingly large handset lineup that now includes the iPhone.
Cons: Because they don't subsidize handsets with two-year contracts, many of the best handsets are quite expensive. Due to network incompatibility, some handsets are not available in all Cricket areas.
Lowest Price Per Anytime Minute: Unlimited plans = no cost per minute
Cricket offers plans for basic phones and smartphones. For basic phones they offer a basic 35 dollar plan that provides unlimited long distance calling and text messaging, plus voicemail and caller ID. The 45 dollar plan adds unlimited picture and video messaging, international messaging, mobile data, and a host of calling features. The smartphone plans start at 50 dollars per month and provide unlimited long distance calling and all types of messaging, plus unlimited data (capped at 1GB of full-speed 3G data). The 60 dollar plan adds unlimited international messaging and increases the 3G speed cap to 2.5 GB. The 70 dollar plan increases the full-speed 3G limit to 5 GB. Both the 60 and 70 dollar plans include tethering and data backup features. Android smartphones are eligible for the Muve Music plans, which cost the same as the smartphone plans. Finally, the iPhone plan costs 55 dollars per month and provides all of the features of the 60 dollar smartphone plan, minus tethering and the data backup.
Read more about Cricket Wireless plans
Customer Service: Customer service is available via a toll free number.
Free Nights: Unlimited
Credit Check: None
Free Weekends: Unlimited
Daily Access Fee: On PAYgo plans
Payment Options: Cricket offers customers the ability to pay via automatic bill payments that deduct your balance from a credit or debit card each month. You can make payments by phone with a credit or debit card, but you'll be charged an additional 2 dollar processing fee to do so. Paying in cash at an authorized payment location for a 3 dollar fee is another option. Payment by mail may be made with check or money order and you can also make payments online through their customer care website.
Data Plans: For basic phones, the 45 and 55 dollar plans include unlimited mobile web. All smartphone plans include unlimited data, but each has a particular amount of full-speed 3G data. The 60 dollar smartphone plan includes 1GB of full-speed 3G data. The 60 dollar plan includes 2.5 GB, and the 70 dollar plan includes 5 GB. The iPhone plan includes 2.5 GB of full-speed data.
Downloads: You can download ringtones to most phones offered by Cricket for $1.99. Screen images (also known as wallpapers) are also available for download for 99 cents each.
International Calling: Cricket offers unlimited international text messaging on many of its plans. It also offers international long distance calling at varying rates. See website for details.
Text Messaging Available: Cricket offers unlimited text messaging with all plans, and offers picture messaging with the 45 and 55 dollar basic plans, plus all smartphone plans.
Roaming Charges: Roaming minutes cost 25 cents each. Cricket now has nationwide coverage, thereby reducing roaming areas.
Text Messaging Charge For Incoming: No
Calling Features: Caller ID and voicemail are available on all plans. The 45 dollar and higher plans add call waiting, call forwarding, and 3-way calling. Voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and three-way calling are available with all PAYgo plans.
Unlimited Text Messaging Plan Available: Yes
Activation Fee: There is an activation fee of 15 dollars to get started with Cricket wireless.
Nationwide Long Distance: Nationwide long distance is available on all of Cricket's monthly plans.
Unlimited Plan Available: Yes
411 Calls: Unlimited 411 directory assistance is available with the 45 and 55 dollar basic plans, the 60 and 70 dollar smartphone plans, and the iPhone plan.
Earliest Minute Expiration: Cricket monthly plan minutes do not expire. A new fee is required every month.
911 Calls: Yes.
Phones: Cricket offers phones ranging from basic 30 dollar flip phones to the 500 dollar iPhone. In their inventory is a number of Android smartphones, and they are adding new ones regularly. They can range from value models around 100 dollars to higher end models over 200 dollars.
Standard Calling Features: caller ID, call waiting, voicemail
Some Available Cell Models: iPhone 5 (shown)
HTC One V
Huawei Ascend II
BlackBerry Curve 9350
Huawei Ascend Q
Cheapest Phone Model: $49.99