Cricket Wireless stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Even if you’re not familiar with Cricket Wireless, you’ve certainly seen the carrier’s commercials. They’re the ones with animated characters that look like they’re straight out of a Pixar flick. Well, the carrier is hoping you take those ads to heart and is backing them up with savings. Cricket has doubled its subscriber count since joining AT&T, but there’s a lot more to learn about Cricket Wireless plans before you sign up.

See also: The best Cricket Wireless deals

Cricket Wireless sticks to prepaid service, so we’ll take you through all of the options and the best phones you can get. As an MVNO, there are some unique aspects to Cricket Wireless, and we’ll touch on a few alternatives that use Big Blue’s network. Are you ready to see what all of the excitement is about? Let’s talk Cricket and take a look at the best Cricket Wireless plans.

Cricket Wireless at a glance

As we’ve alluded to, Cricket Wireless is an MVNO that joined the AT&T family in 2014 as part of a merger with AIO wireless. The carrier currently serves a base of 10 million subscribers, up from five million before the merger. Cricket isn’t Better Business Bureau accredited though it does have an A-plus rating. 

Once upon a time, Cricket had its own small regional network. These days, thanks to its affiliation with AT&T, Cricket Wireless has a 4G LTE network in all 50 states and uses the aforementioned carrier’s network. While it doesn’t reach the entire US, its 4G and 3G networks help provide a solid service blanket. You can use third-party coverage throughout southern Canada, and Cricket has veins of LTE coverage throughout Mexico.

If you want to learn more about the coverage network, check out the North American map here.

Pre-paid Cricket Wireless plans

There are no post-paid plans on Cricket Wireless, so don’t expect any contracts when you make the switch. Its data cap primarily identifies each plan, but you can add various extra goodies to flesh out your experience. Check out the table below for more details:

2GB10GBCricket CoreCricket More
Cost
2GB:
$30 per month
10GB:
$40 for one line
$70 for two lines
$90 for three lines
$110 for four lines
Cricket Core:
$55 for one line
$80 for two lines
$90 for three lines
$100 for four lines
Cricket More:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
Talk and Text
2GB:
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
10GB:
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Cricket Core:
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Cricket More:
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Data
2GB:
2GB of 4G LTE data
10GB:
10GB of 4G LTE data
Cricket Core:
Unlimited high-speed 4G LTE data
Cricket More:
Unlimited 4G LTE data at Cricket's highest speeds
Streaming
2GB:
Not included
10GB:
Not included
Cricket Core:
Standard Definition 480p
Cricket More:
Standard Definition 480p
Hotspot
2GB:
Not available
10GB:
Not available
Cricket Core:
Available
Cricket More:
15GB included
International
2GB:
Not available
10GB:
Available
Cricket Core:
Texts to 37 countries
Canada and Mexico usage (must not exceed 50%)
Cricket More:
Texts to 37 countries
Canada and Mexico usage (must not exceed 50%)

2GB Plan

Simple name, simple plan — at least that’s the idea behind the 2GB option. As the name suggests, you’ll get 2GB of 4G LTE data access per month along with unlimited talk and text. Cricket’s 2GB plan also supports HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling if you have a compatible phone. Beyond that, you can add another gig of data as needed for a fee. Each line of 2GB service runs at a constant $30 per month rate.

Highlights:

  • Enough data for low-limit users.
  • Unlimited talk and text at a low price.

Best for:

  • Users who want to talk and text on a budget.
  • Users who spend most of their time on Wi-Fi.

10GB Plan

2GB of data isn’t enough for everyone, so you may want to jump to the 10GB Cricket plan if you need to stay connected on the go. Luckily, each line is more affordable than the last, so five times the data is well worth the extra fee. Extra data and the per-line discount are the only differences, though — there’s still no streaming or hotspot available.

Highlights:

  • Five times more data at a low cost.
  • Discount for each line you add.

Best for:

  • Users who plan to use data and don’t want to pay per gig.
  • Users who don’t need a hotspot and would rather stream on a TV.

Cricket Core Plan

The Core plan is Cricket Wireless’s best option for most people — it offers plenty of unlimited functions, but you don’t have to pay for a hotspot if you don’t want one. Core includes standard definition (480p) streaming and international texting to 37 countries along with unlimited LTE data access. You can use your talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico, too, as long as you just more than 50% of your plan in the US.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited data, talk, and text.
  • Streaming in standard definition.

Best for:

  • Users who plan to text other countries.
  • Users who want the option of hotspot and streaming.

Cricket More Plan

The most expensive Cricket plan of the lot, Cricket More, is just like Core except it includes 15GB of hotspot access for just $5 more. It’s the more affordable option if you know you’ll need that extra data each month, and it packs all of the same perks as Cricket Core. Streaming is still limited to standard definition, but it’s always nice to know that your plan will work for trips to Canada or Mexico. Cricket More is also your best bet for high-speed data as it’s the only option with 5G access.

Highlights:

  • Usage in Canada and Mexico, up to 50%.
  • 15GB of included hotspot access.

Best for:

  • Users who plan to make the most of the included hotspot.
  • North American travelers who want to stay connected with a single plan.

Add-on options

Although some of Cricket’s basic plans are bare, it doesn’t take much effort to add a few extra features. Each one comes at a cost, but these add-ons cover everything from an extra gig of data to international access. Check out the table for the specifics of each add-on.

2GB10GBCricket CoreCricket More
International
2GB:
N/A
10GB:
$5 per month
Cricket Core:
$5 per month
Cricket More:
$5 per month
International Extra
2GB:
N/A
10GB:
$15 per month
Cricket Core:
$15 per month
Cricket More:
$15 per month
Individual Countries
2GB:
N/A
10GB:
$10-15 per month
Cricket Core:
$10-15 per month
Cricket More:
$10-15 per month
Add 1GB of data
2GB:
$10 per month
10GB:
$10 per month
Cricket Core:
$10 per month
Cricket More:
$10 per month
Hotspot
2GB:
N/A
10GB:
N/A
Cricket Core:
$10 per month
Cricket More:
15GB included
Hotspot Add-ons
2GB:
N/A
10GB:
N/A
Cricket Core:
15GB more for $10 per month
Cricket More:
15GB more for $10 per month

Here’s what each add-on includes:

International

As long as you’ve set up a plan that costs $40 per month or more, Cricket International will let you dial landline numbers in 35 countries. You can cancel at any time.

International Extra

International Extra adds pictures and video calling to the mix for all 35 countries, and you can dial mobile numbers in 31 of those countries for up to 1,000 minutes.

Individual Countries

If you have relatives in a certain country that does not fall within the 35 international options, you can add select nations for a varying fee. Available countries include much of Central America as well as the Philippines and Vietnam. Plans include varying talk minutes and typically unlimited texting.

Add 1GB of data

Mainly designed for the limited data plans, this add-on kicks your cap from 2GB to 3GB or from 10GB to 11GB. You can add it just once or on a recurring monthly basis.

Hotspot

Although Cricket More includes 15GB of hotspot data, this add-on grants the same amount to the Core plan. It’s helpful if you only want to use a hotspot for one month, but you may be better off with the More plan if you want to use hotspot often.

Hotspot add-ons

If 15GB isn’t enough for your needs, you can add another 15GB to either the Core or More plans. Just like the standard hotspot addition, you can add it one time or regularly.

 

Does Cricket have any perks?

Cricket Wireless featured image

While there are no fancy perks on Cricket like free Netflix or anything, one of its more important perks is its Group Save discount.

It’s not as generous with savings as it once was, but you can save $10 on a second line and $20 more per line. There is a limit to the savings — after the fifth phone, there are no more discounts. When it’s all said and done, you’re looking at four lines of data for your family with a monthly bill of just $100 — not an easy price to top.

Which Cricket Wireless plan is right for you?

If you’re ready to make a move, it’s tough to top the Cricket Core — or basic unlimited — plan. There’s the obvious draw of unlimited data, but you also get benefits like standard definition streaming and usage in Canada and Mexico that can’t exceed 50%. You can text your friends in 37 countries, and once you have more than three lines, the Cricket Core plan costs less than the 10GB alternative.

You won’t get a hotspot with Cricket Core, but you can always add one for an extra monthly fee. If you know that you’ll absolutely need that hotspot, opt for Cricket More as it will save you $5 per month, including 5G access.

Cricket Wireless vs the competition

As an MVNO, it seems unfair to compare the best Cricket offers with the best that Verizon and AT&T can do. Instead, we’ll stack it against a few of the other MVNOs on each network. We’re comparing all of the plans featured in the Best prepaid and no-contract plans in the US if you want to do a bit more research.

Cricket MoreVisibleMint MobileGoogle Fi
Cost
Cricket More:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
Visible:
$40 per month
Mint Mobile:
$45 per month
Google Fi:
$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$50 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Host Operator
Cricket More:
AT&T
Visible:
Verizon
Mint Mobile:
T-Mobile
Google Fi:
T-Mobile
Sprint
US Cellular
Talk and Text
Cricket More:
Unlimited
Visible:
Unlimited
Mint Mobile:
Unlimited
Google Fi:
Unlimited
Data
Cricket More:
Unlimited 4G LTE
Visible:
Unlimited 4G LTE
Mint Mobile:
Unlimited
Google Fi:
Unlimited
Extras
Cricket More:
Standard Definition streaming
15GB Mobile hotspot
Visible:
Mobile Hotspot
Mint Mobile:
None
Google Fi:
Full-speed hotspot
Google One membership
International
Cricket More:
Mexico and Canada usage up to 50%
Texting to 37 countries
Visible:
None
Mint Mobile:
International calls to Mexico and Canada
International texting
Google Fi:
Free calls to over 50 countries
Free texts and data abroad

Visible

Visible, like Cricket, is a wholly-owned subsidiary carrier. However, it relies on the Verizon network and swaps some of the perks for a lower base price. There’s only one plan to choose from, and it offers unlimited talk, text, and data. The plan also allows for hotspot access, and you can finally call internationally and tap into Verizon’s Nationwide 5G.

Party Pay is what really sets Visible apart, as you can join as many friends as you please, and each of you will pay as little as $25 per month. One late payer doesn’t hurt the others, and you’ll all save money. Visible has no physical stores, though, so customer service can be a challenge.

Highlights:

  • One plan, one rate.
  • Everything is unlimited.

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is a true MVNO, owned by Ryan Reynolds himself rather than a larger carrier. It offers a brand-new unlimited plan, or you can pay $25 per month for 15GB of 4G LTE or 5G access — whichever is stronger. You can call Mexico and Canada at no extra charge, and you can dedicate as much of your data to the hotspot as you please.

Unlike some carriers that charge you for a SIM card when you switch, Mint includes one that you can punch out to any of three sizes. You won’t get much by streaming perks or add-ons, but Mint is an affordable and fast option on T-Mobile’s network.

Highlights:

  • Up to unlimited 4G LTE or 5G data per month.
  • Calling to Mexico and Canada included.

Google Fi

A single carrier doesn’t own Google Fi, and that’s good news for you regarding service. The hybrid MVNO uses T-Mobile, the remains of Sprint, and US Cellular towers to switch to the best signal available constantly. Fi supports an absolutely massive list of phones, covering options from many major US manufacturers and Huawei and even Red Hydrogen.

As for the plan, Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan is a great international option. You can call over 50 countries and territories for free, and contact with other areas can start at just one penny. Each line gets unlimited data up to 22GB, a Google One membership, and full-speed hotspot tethering. You can also try Simply Unlimited for a US-based experience.

Highlights:

  • Impressive phone support.
  • Plenty of international connection.
  • Google One membership included.

Other MVNOs with similar service to Cricket Wireless 

Consumer CellularStraight TalkRed PocketTracFone
Cost
Consumer Cellular:
Limited plans for as low as $18.33 per month
Unlimited plans for as low as $30 per month
Straight Talk:
Basic plans from $30 per month
Unlimited plans from $55 per month
Red Pocket:
Limited plans as low as $10 per month
Unlimited plans for $60 per month
TracFone:
Limited plans from $15
Unlimited options from $20
Talk & Text
Consumer Cellular:
Unlimited
Straight Talk:
1500 minutes for $30 per month
Unlimited from $35 per month
Red Pocket:
$10 plan includes 500 texts and 500 minutes
Plans above $15 include unlimited talk and text
TracFone:
500 minutes and 500 texts for $15
Unlimited for $20
Data
Consumer Cellular:
500MB shared for $18.33 per month
Unlimited shared for $30 per month
Straight Talk:
100MB for $30 per month
5GB for $35 per month
25GB for $45 per month
Unlimited for $55 per month
Red Pocket:
Starts at 500MB for $10
Unlimited data for $60
TracFone:
500MB for $15
3GB for $30
Hotspot
Consumer Cellular:
Hotspot available
Straight Talk:
Hotspot available
Red Pocket:
Hotspot available
TracFone:
Hotspot available
International
Consumer Cellular:
Not available
Straight Talk:
Global calling cards from $10 per month
International unlimited for $60 per month
Red Pocket:
Free calls to 80 countries
TracFone:
International calling card available
Extras
Consumer Cellular:
AARP discounts
Straight Talk:
Multi-month discounts
Red Pocket:
Free SIM card
TracFone:
Talk, text, and data add-ons available

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular is a network designed for users over 55. You can have up to three lines on an account, and an AARP membership can help you nab a discount. Plans offer unlimited talk and text, though it’s up to you to decide on data. There’s no international access or roaming, though, to help protect against extra fees.

Straight Talk

Straight Talk is a popular MVNO, and signing up is as easy as going to Walmart. You can also sign up online and choose from various plans, both with limited and unlimited data. Like many MVNOs, you can pay monthly and reload your account as you need more data. Best of all, basic plans start at just $30 per month.

Red Pocket

Red Pocket is unique among MVNOs in that it works on all of the major carriers. However, you’ll choose your carrier at signup, and then you’re locked in for the duration of your service. Once again, there are limited and unlimited options, and it’s easy to bring a phone along, thanks to the network choices.

Tracfone

Tracfone is one of the oldest and best-known MVNOs on the market, and its staying power speaks volumes. You can choose from several plans with limited or unlimited talk, text, and data. Add-ons are another great way to flesh out your service for an added cost.

What phones can you use on Cricket Wireless?

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back 1
David Imel / Android Authority

Cricket Wireless is an MVNO, which makes it a great way to get your hands on a budget device. There are certainly plenty to choose from, but Cricket also has many of the latest and greatest devices on the market if you’re hoping for an iPhone.

You can pick up either the iPhone 12 or iPhone SE, and highlights on the Android side include the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and LG Stylo 6. If you want to bring your own phone, you’ll want to take extra caution in making sure it works with Cricket Wireless. Cricket was previously a CDMA carrier like Verizon and Sprint — at least until AT&T stepped in. Now it’s a GSM carrier, so you can bring phones from AT&T or T-Mobile.

See also: The best Cricket phones to spend your money on

If you purchase a Cricket device and then decide to leave the network, you’ll have to wait six months unless you’re heading to AT&T. The most important factor in changing carriers is band support, as always. If your device doesn’t support the right bands, then you’re all out of luck. Check the table below for the list of Cricket Wireless bands:

FrequencyBandNetwork Suppported
Frequency:
1900MHz
Band:
2
Network Suppported:
4G LTE
3G
Frequency:
1700/2100MHz
Band:
4
Network Suppported:
4G LTE
Frequency:
2300MHz
Band:
30
Network Suppported:
4G LTE
Frequency:
850MHz
Band:
5
Network Suppported:
3G
Frequency:
700MHz
Band:
17
Network Suppported:
4G LTE

Find the right phone by checking out one of the guides below: