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Last updated on Nov 19, 2019

Cricket Wireless Review

Generous data caps at a low price for groups and families ​
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Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless offers flexible 4G mobile broadband Internet packages with unlimited data usage. However, speeds are unimpressive and prices are on the higher end.

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How We Reviewed Cricket Wireless

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10 hours of research

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6 features assessed

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4 plans compared

Cricket Wireless Review

Acquired by AT&T in 2013, Cricket Wireless shines among cell phone providers for its affordable prepaid group plans. At $25 to $60 per month per line before discounts are applied, it’s cheaper than both Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. By coverage, Cricket is the fifth-largest cellular provider nationwide, with widest and fastest coverage in Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Tennessee, Nevada, New Jersey, Arkansas, Delaware, and Mississippi. Its speeds lag behind bigger providers, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly carrier that offers a good range of plans, Cricket Wireless is tough to beat.

The Claim

Cricket promises “friendly, affordable wireless” plans with no annual contract.

Is it true?

Yes. Cricket wireless is one of the most affordable mobile carriers around. Plans are cheaper than those of bigger providers like Verizon Wireless and don’t come with the hassle of an annual contract. Cricket really shines when it comes to its Group Save discount, which can potentially save you up to $70 per month. This is a huge bonus if you’re purchasing plans for a family of five, or if you and your friends want to go in on a plan together.

Gauging a mobile carrier’s “friendliness” is more abstract, but Cricket delivers on this as well. We love how user-friendly its website is when compared to competitors. What you see on Cricket’s site is what you get — information isn’t buried in the fine print. This level of transparency makes the decision-making process much less of an annoyance. Another way the provider scores friendliness points is by including taxes in all of its monthly rates. The price you see online is the total price, meaning you won’t be surprised by additional taxes when the bill comes.

Product Overview

Best for

Those seeking group discounts and prepaid cell phone plans

Not for

People who want the fastest speeds


Price for one line $25-$60/mo.
Available data plans 2 GB, 5 GB, Unlimited, and Unlimited Extra
Data caps for Unlimited plans 22 GB
Download speed Up to 8 Mbps
Number of states served 36
Contract length No annual contract
Overage fees No overage fees
Add-on features +1 GB for $10
International service
Mobile hotspots
Cricket protect
Individual country add-ons

AutoPay credit

If you sign up for AutoPay with the 5 GB, Unlimited, and Unlimited Extra plans, you’ll get a $5 credit at the end of each monthly statement. This can’t be stacked with the Group Save discount, but it’s a smart deal if you’re the only person on the plan.

1+ GB

For the 2 GB and 5 GB plans, you have the option of topping up your data if you’ve hit your monthly data cap. You can add an extra 1 GB as either a one-time or monthly purchase for $10, making this a perfect solution for people who occasionally exceed their data limit but aren’t ready to upgrade their plan. We recommend only doing this once you’ve hit your cap, as any “leftover” data won’t roll over into the next month.

Mobile hotspot

Cricket’s mobile hotspot, available for both Unlimited plans at $10 per month, allows you to share your monthly plan’s high-speed data allowance among multiple devices. Its data allowance is 10 GB per month, and speeds slow from 3 to 8 Mbps to 128 Kbps once you hit the cap. It’s only available for compatible phones, which you can check here.

No annual contract

Most carriers now offer a version of a no-contract option, but Cricket offers one of the greatest varieties — after all, all of its plans come without an annual contract. This means that you can leave for another provider if you’re unsatisfied. Like a standard prepaid plan, you’re essentially paying for your data upfront. This lets you keep your options open if you ever feel the urge to switch to another provider.

Variety of plans

Cricket’s array of data plans means there is likely a plan to fit your needs. Here is a full cost breakdown of the data plans offered by Cricket:

2 GB
5 GB
Unlimited Extra
Unlimited national minutes
Unlimited national minutes
Unlimited national minutes
Unlimited national minutes
2 GB (speed reduced to 2G after allowance is used)
5 GB (speed reduced to 2G after allowance is used)
Unlimited data access at speeds up to 3 Mbps (speed reduced to 22 GB of data usage)
Unlimited data access on 4G LTE speeds (network may slow due to congestion, regardless of data usage)
Monthly cost

Possible Drawbacks

Slower speeds

The biggest drawback for Cricket is that its speeds aren’t up to par with those of the larger carriers. Despite being on AT&T’s network, Cricket’s 8 Mbps max speeds are lacking. This is because Cricket’s speeds are capped and don’t operate at the same level as AT&T’s network speeds. What’s more, its speeds on the Unlimited plan are capped even lower at 3 Mbps. Cricket says that 8 Mbps is plenty for streaming video and downloading games, which is true if you’re not concerned with HD quality. But you might notice a difference — especially if you’re used to the speeds offered by larger carriers. If you need a lot of speed and don’t mind paying for the extra convenience, we recommend looking into faster providers like AT&T or Verizon.

The Competition

Cricket Wireless
Boost Mobile
Our review
Available data plans
2 GB
5 GB
Unlimited Extra
3 Gigs 4G LTE
Unlimited Gigs
Boost Unlimited Plus
Ultimate Unlimited
Basic 500
Premium 500 MB
Premium 1 GB
Premium 2 GB
Premium 3 GB
Premium 4 GB
2 GB
10 GB
Unlimited +10 GB Hotspot
Price for one line
Annual contract required
Overage fees
Hotspot capabilities included
Speed cap
Data caps for unlimited data plans
22 GB
23 GB
No unlimited data plan
35 GB
Group discount/family plan
AutoPay discount

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile

On paper, Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless are fairly similar. Both offer competitive plans that don’t require annual contracts or charge overage fees. One feature Boost has over Cricket is that it includes a mobile hotspot with both of its Unlimited plans — which is a major plus if you do a lot of tethering between your phone and other devices. However, Boost’s parent company is Sprint, which means you’ll be getting Sprint coverage and reliability. Cricket’s parent company, AT&T, wins out over Sprint on overall performance, but it does cap speeds at 8 Mbps. It really boils down to preference. If you’re in an area with strong Sprint coverage, Boost Mobile might be the way to go. But if you aren’t and would prefer generally stronger performance, Cricket Wireless is still your best bet.

Cricket Wireless vs. FreedomPop

When it comes to price, FreedomPop beats Cricket — nothing can beat free. But cost is really the only place FreedomPop wins. In exchange for ultra-cheap plans, the carrier charges overage fees, plus its hotspot costs extra and only tethers up to 1 GB of data. Cricket Wireless excels as the more cost-effective option for those who need some added features, but if you only need your cell phone to do the bare minimum and don’t want to pay more for extra features, FreedomPop’s hard to beat.

Cricket Wireless vs. MetroPCS

MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless share many of the same features. Pricing for both is competitive, and neither requires a long-term contract. MetroPCS has an edge when it comes to its unlimited plans’ data caps — MetroPCS has a 35 GB limit before throttling speeds, whereas Cricket’s unlimited plans start to slow at 22 GB. It also includes mobile hotspots across all plans at no additional cost. However, when it comes to performance, Cricket wins. MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile, meaning it has the same coverage and reliability. AT&T’s overall performance is stronger than T-Mobile’s, so if you’re more concerned with that, Cricket is the way to go.

Cricket Wireless FAQ

The Bottom Line

Cricket Wireless is best for families who value low prices over the fastest speeds, or anyone who prefers an affordable phone bill over the speediest connections. Audit the phone habits and data usage of anyone joining your plan to decide which will be right for you. If you need a cheaper wireless plan, then Cricket might be your best option.