Looking for great network coverage, generous high-speed data and a lower monthly bill? AT&T prepaid Cricket Wireless just might tick your boxes.
With plans starting at $30 per month for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of LTE data (and unlimited data at reduced speed), as well as included Mexico and Canada use on higher monthly plans, Cricket is a great option for customers looking to take their own GSM-capable phone to a cheaper plan.
What you can expect when switching to Cricket Wireless
- No-contract plans
- Able to bring your own phone and keep your current number
- Coverage through the AT&T network
- No overages or additional fees
- All-in pricing (all prices already include tax)
- $5 per month discount for using AutoPay
- Fast download/upload speeds
- More data, less cost
- Fast shipping
- Over 3,000 stores nationwide
- Low-cost devices
Cricket Wireless is one of the fastest growing carriers in the USA right now.
What you’ll need to switch to Cricket…
Switching to Cricket is fast and simple, and you can do it yourself online. You'll need:
- A unlocked and GSM-compatible phone (if you're bringing a phone from AT&T or T-Mobile, you should have no problems here).
- Your IMEI number.
- Personal and billing information.
- If you want to transfer your number, make sure you don't cancel it first! Cricket will handle the porting process for you.
Step by Step
Here's a quick overview of the sign-up process, but you can scroll down for more detailed step-by-step info.
Start at the Cricket Wireless website by clicking here, and then select a plan.
- Have your unlocked GSM compatible phone ready and with you.
- Select your current carrier and enter your IMEI #.
- Select your plan.
- Select any Add-On Features you require.
- Choose if you are transferring your number or if you need a new number.
- Fill out: Create Account, Payment Info, Transfer Number (only if porting number), and Review and Place Order.
- Wait for your SIM card to arrive. When you receive the SIM card, insert the SIM in your unlocked GSM phone.
Everything you need to know about Cricket's BYO (bring your own phone) program
If you want to bring your own device to Cricket Wireless, you need to make sure that it's carrier unlocked and compatible with GSM ( more info on GSM is available here). You may need to contact your current wireless carrier to get your device unlocked from its network, but as long as you own your handset (so have no device payments remaining, or you're not locked into a contract) this should be easy.
If your phone is good to go, your next move is to head over to Cricket Wireless' website at www.cricketwireless.com. Once you're on the main Cricket page, you can get started by hovering your mouse directly over 'Shop' at the top of the screen. A second menu will then drop down - select 'Bring Your Phone' to continue.
On the next page, you'll be prompted to select which carrier you're switching from. When you select your current carrier, Cricket will immediately take you to the next webpage, where you 'll need to input your IMEI number ( click here to learn how to find your IMEI #) to determine your phone's compatibility with Cricket.
If you entered an IMEI that is not successful, you'll see the words 'Incompatible Phone'. If you enter in your IMEI successfully, Cricket will automatically add a Universal SIM card to your shopping cart.
Select your plan and features
On the next page, you will be prompted to select your new Cricket plan. Pick which plan best suits your monthly needs, and then select 'Add to Cart'.
You'll be taken to a page which will allow you to enhance your plan with 'Add-On Features'. Select any features you wish to add to your plan, or select 'Skip for Now' if you're happy with your plan as-is. You'll be taken to your shopping cart which will contain all the items you've selected for purchase. If this is correct, hit the 'Check Out' button to start finalizing the order.
On the following page, you will need to decide if you intend to transfer your current phone number, or if you would like Cricket to issue you a brand new number.
If you are transferring your current number, you will be prompted to enter in your 10-digit phone number. If Cricket can accept your current number, you will see the words 'Your phone number is eligible to transfer.' Head to the next page and fill in the required account information, followed by the billing/payment information. After the billing information has been entered, you'll be taken to the 'Transfer Number' step of the checkout.
For this part of the process, you will need to have your account details available from your current carrier. Cricket will need your current account number, password/Pin, account ZIP code, and the last 4 digits of your SSN/Tax ID. Once this information has been entered correctly, select the 'Continue' button. You can review your order to make sure everything is correct, then select the 'Place Order' button. Your SIM card will arrive in the next 2-3 business days.
Requesting a new number
If you need a new number, Cricket will need to know your ZIP code. Enter the code, and select 'Continue'. As outlined above, you'll then need to enter the required account information, followed by the billing/payment information. Review your order details to make sure everything is correct, then select 'Place Order' to complete the purchase. Your SIM card will arrive in 2-3 business days.
- On the 3rd step of the checkout process, you will need to have all of your account details with your current carrier for the transfer to be successful.
- If you have any wrong or inaccurate information such as “Account Number, Password/PIN, Account ZIP or SSN/Tax ID”, you will receive an error preventing you from completing your purchase.
- You may need to contact your carrier to obtain the accurate account details.
- When you receive your SIM card via mail, you may experience difficulties with the service working right away. If that is the case, contact Cricket customer service and ask to speak to a supervisor. They should be able to resolve any issues immediately.
Getting a new phone with Cricket
Interested in purchasing a new phone instead? Cricket currently has some of the highest quality brands phones at a very discounted rates.
Buying a new phone from Cricket can also be done online, and is an easy process. On the Cricket website, hover your mouse over 'Shop' and the select 'Smartphones' to be taken to a list of all the devices Cricket has available. Once you've decided on a new phone, select the blue button titled 'Add to Cart'.
Next, you’ll be asked to select a wireless plan. Your screen will automatically display all of Cricket's pre-paid plans, so again, all you need to do is decide on the option that's best for you and select 'Add to Cart'.
Once you've picked out a plan, you’ll be taken to a page to select any additional features you wish to add to your plan, such as insurance, international packages and extra high-speed data. Select 'Review Cart' and, once you've checked over your order, select 'Check Out' to finalize your purchases.
You can choose to transfer an existing phone number, or request a new number for your device (see above). The final step will be to set up your account by entering in your personal, billing and credit card information. Expect your brand-new phone and SIM card to arrive in the next 2-5 business days.
Data Speeds & Coverage on Cricket Wireless
Cricket Wireless offers coverage through the AT&T network, and data speeds are reasonably fast. For many people, the real world speed difference between Cricket and AT&T is not actually that noticeable; however, Cricket does throttle its LTE speeds to 8Mbps, and HSPA speeds to 4Mbps. In comparison, AT&T's speeds are not capped, and can hit up to 100Mbps.
We do want to note that Cricket's speeds, despite being limited, are more than enough for general use. If customers exceed their monthly fast data allotment, speeds are slowed to 128Kbps for the remainder of the billing cycle (although data at this speed is unlimited). Additional LTE/high-speed data packages can be purchased at any time.
The great thing about the new Cricket Wireless is that the company now uses the entire AT&T network, providing national coverage for voice and data.
As Cricket is a prepaid subsidiary of AT&T, you'll find coverage to be identical on both networks, although as stated above AT&T does offer faster data speeds.
Mobile HotSpot & Tethering
Mobile hotspots are currently offered by Cricket, meaning you can use your phone's data allowance on other devices such as laptops or tablets. You can add 1GB of hotspot to the Pro plan for $10 per month, per line.
Original cell phone image via Shutterstock
Compare Carriers to Find the Perfect Cell Phone Plan
- Network: Cricket runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network, making use of band 17 and band 5 (700Mhz, 850Mhz), band 2 and 4 (1900Mhz, 1700/2100Mhz). Cricket's 4G HSPA and HSPA+ use band 5 and 2 (850Mhz, 1900Mhz).
- Coverage: Cricket runs on AT&T's network, consistently ranked #2 in national network coverage tests.
- Where to Buy: In addition to thousands of retail stores nationwide--over 10,000, in fact--Cricket also sells plans online via their website and WhistleOut.
- Bring Your Own Phone to Cricket Wireless: If you have an unlocked GSM phone and your phone supports AT&T's LTE bands, you can bring your own phone to Cricket. Check device eligibility here.
- Tethering: Customers who have eligible tethering-compatible devices can use them for this purpose on Cricket.
Fact: The Cricket Wireless network covers over 99% of the U.S. population. Learn more about Cricket via our carrier review.