Before I sign up for Cricket Wireless I thought I’d review the different plans and features. I did want to point out that Cricket Wireless offers free activation online but if you activate your phone in a Cricket Wireless store, you’ll pay a $25 activation fee.
Now let’s take a look at the plans. Cricket offers five different plans: a $30, $40, $50, $60, and $70 plan. The primary difference in the plans is the amount of high speed data included. These plans include 1 GB, 2.5GB, 8GB, 10 GB and unlimited high speed data respectively.
Talk and Text
First lets take a look at the other features. All these plans include Unlimited Nationwide Talk and Text meaning you can make unlimited calls as well as send and receive unlimited text and picture messages across the USA. The $50, $60 and $70 plans also include Unlimited International Text Messages meaning you can send unlimited text messages to an additional 38 countries. This does not include picture messages however. Additionally these three plans also include Data Access Plus Unlimited Talk & Text to and from Mexico, Canada and the U.S, you can also make unlimited calls to Mexico, Canada and the US, as well as have unlimited text and picture messages and you’ll be able to use your voice and data in all three countries. Now it looks like there is a restriction that you must use your phone at least 50% of the time in the US. I guess that is to prevent Canadians and Mexicans from signing up and using these plans at home.
Data / Internet
Next, lets take a look at data. Each of these plans comes with a high speed data allowance ranging from 1 GB of high speed data to unlimited. After you use up your allowance you’ll still have a data connection at the highly reduced rate of 128Kbps. This is very slow, you won’t be watching videos or listening to streaming music. You’ll be able to send and receive email and do some basic messaging but performance severely reduced. This feature or practice is common for many prepaid wireless services. Its important to point out that maximum speed for Cricket’s 4G LTE service is 8 Mbps. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses their LTE network which is much faster than that. I’ve measured speeds over 90 Mbps using AT&T’s LTE network with other prepaid services. Now 8 Mbps may be fast enough for you and many other people to use the services you want. But you will not getting the true speed of 4G LTE service. This limitation is probabally why Cricket’s prices are very attractive.
One of the nice things about Cricket Wireless is they offer two different discounts. Cricket offers a $5 per month discount for customers who enroll in Auto Pay. With Auto Pay, you agree to let Cricket automatically bill your credit card every month. The $5 Auto Pay discount is available for all the Cricket plans except the $30 plan. Cricket also offers a group discount for multiple lines on the same account. Eligible lines start with the $40 plan. You can save up to $100 on five lines. Your second line receives a $10 discount, third line a $20 discount, fourth line a $30 discount and fifth line a $40 discount. The Auto Pay and Group Discounts can not be combined.
Add On Features
Cricket offers several Add-On features. With Cricket Protect for between $7-$10 per month you can insure your phone. Cricket alway offers a free trial for the Deezer music service. It’s $6 per month after the trial.
International Calling and Messaging
Cricket also offers two additional International Calling Add-Ons. With Cricket International you’ll spend and additional $5 per month for unlimited landline calling to for 36 countries. For $15, they offer International Extra which adds unlimited MMS picture messages to 36 countries and 1000 minutes of mobile to mobile calling for 32 countries. While I didn’t see it stated, I assume the international calling is direct dial and you don’t need to use an access number like some other services. Cricket also offers international calling add ons for individual countries for and additional $10 to $15 per month.
Additional High Speed Data
With Cricket Wireless you can also add an additional 1 GB of High Speed data for $10. This is a very good feauture to have in case you run out of data. It look like the extra data expires at the end of you billing cycle. So if you added data with 5 days left on your plan and unused portion would expire. I’d like to see the data last for a least 30 days after purchase before it expires.
Finally, Cricket offers mobile hotspot for and additional $10 per month. With mobile hotspot, you can share your phone’s data connection with your other devices.
Now not all of these add ons are available for all plans. All of the international calling add ons are only available on the plans costing $50 or more. The Mobile HotSpot is only available with the $50 and $60 plans. I’m not surprised that the won’t unclude mobile hotspot with the $70 unlimited plan.
In Part 3 of this series, I’ll show you step-by-step how to sign up for Cricket Wireless and demostrate using it with my iPhone. Stay tuned…