Your guide

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Even if you only know Cricket Wireless by name, you’ve almost certainly seen the carrier’s commercials. They’re the ones with the colorful characters that look like a friendlier Cousin Itt. Well, the carrier is riding the wave of those commercials and bringing savings in its wake. Cricket has doubled its subscriber count since joining AT&T, but there’s a lot more to learn about it.

See also: The best Cricket Wireless deals

Cricket Wireless only offers prepaid plans, so we’ll guide you through your options and the best phones available. As an MVNO, there are some unique aspects to Cricket Wireless, and we’ll touch on a few alternatives that also use AT&T’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 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 prior to the merger. As a small carrier, 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 to make up for the difference. 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 options on Cricket Wireless, so don’t expect any contracts when you make the switch. Each plan is primarily identified by its data cap, but you can add a variety of extra goodies to flesh out your experience. Check out the table below for more details:

 2GB10GBCricket CoreCricket More
Cost$30 per month$40 for one line
$70 for two lines
$90 for three lines
$110 for four lines
$55 for one line
$80 for two lines
$90 for three lines
$100 for four lines
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
Talk and TextUnlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Unlimited
HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling
Data2GB of 4G LTE data10GB of 4G LTE dataUnlimited high-speed 4G LTE dataUnlimited 4G LTE data at Cricket's highest speeds
StreamingNot includedNot includedStandard Definition 480pStandard Definition 480p
HotspotNot availableNot availableAvailable15GB included
InternationalNot availableAvailableTexts to 37 countries
Canada and Mexico usage (must not exceed 50%)
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 simply isn’t enough for everyone, so you may want to jump to the 10GB 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 hotspot and would rather stream on 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. Along with unlimited LTE data access, Core includes standard definition (480p) streaming and international texting to 37 countries. 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 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.

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
InternationalN/A$5 per month$5 per month$5 per month
International ExtraN/A$15 per month$15 per month$15 per month
Individual CountriesN/A$10-15 per month$10-15 per month$10-15 per month
Add 1GB of data$10 per month$10 per month$10 per month$10 per month
HotspotN/AN/A$10 per month15GB included
Hotspot Add-onsN/AN/A15GB more for $10 per month15GB 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 on a recurring basis.

 

Does Cricket have any perks?

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

While not as generous with savings as it once was, 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. 

Which Cricket Wireless plan is right for you?

If you’re preparing to make the switch, 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.

Cricket Wireless vs the competition

As an MVNO, it seems unfair to compare the best Cricket has to offer 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. All of the plans we’re comparing are 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$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
$40 per month$45 per month$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$50 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Host OperatorAT&TVerizonT-MobileT-Mobile
Sprint
US Cellular
Talk and TextUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
DataUnlimited 4G LTEUnlimited 4G LTE12GB 4G LTE per monthUnlimited
ExtrasStandard Definition streaming
15GB Mobile hotspot
Mobile HotspotNoneFull-speed hotspot
Google One membership
InternationalMexico and Canada usage up to 50%
Texting to 37 countries
NoneInternational calls to Mexico and Canada
International texting
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, and it offers unlimited talk, text, and data. The plan also allows for hotspot access, but there are no international add-ons and Verizon makes no mention of 5G access.

Party Pay is what really sets Visible apart, as you can join three other friends and each 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 doesn’t offer an unlimited plan of any kind, but $45 per month gets you access to 12GB 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 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 way of streaming perks or add-ons, but Mint is an affordable and fast option on T-Mobile’s network.

Highlights:

  • 12GB of 4G LTE or 5G data per month
  • Calling to Mexico and Canada included

Google Fi

Google Fi isn’t owned by a single carrier, and that’s good news for you when it comes to service. The hybrid MVNO uses T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular towers to constantly switch to the best signal available. Fi supports an absolutely massive list of phones, covering options from many major US manufacturers as well as Huawei and even Red Hydrogen.

As for the plan, Google Fi’s unlimited 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.

Highlights:

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

Other MVNOs with similar service to Cricket Wireless 

 Consumer CellularStraight TalkRed PocketTracFone
CostLimited plans for as low as $18.33 per month
Unlimited plans for as low as $30 per month
Basic plans from $30 per month
Unlimited plans from $55 per month
Limited plans as low as $10 per month
Unlimited plans for $60 per month
Limited plans from $15
Unlimited options from $20
Talk & TextUnlimited1500 minutes for $30 per month
Unlimited from $35 per month
$10 plan includes 500 texts and 500 minutes
Plans above $15 include unlimited talk and text
500 minutes and 500 texts for $15
Unlimited for $20
Data500MB shared for $18.33 per month
Unlimited shared for $30 per month
100MB for $30 per month
5GB for $35 per month
25GB for $45 per month
Unlimited for $55 per month
Starts at 500MB for $10
Unlimited data for $60
500MB for $15
3GB for $30
HotspotHotspot availableHotspot availableHotspot availableHotspot available
InternationalNot availableGlobal calling cards from $10 per month
International unlimited for $60 per month
Free calls to 80 countriesInternational calling card available
ExtrasAARP discountsMulti-month discountsFree SIM cardTalk, 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 a variety of 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 a number of 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?

Black iPhone 11 Pro on a gray iPad Pro

Credit: Adam Molina / Android Authority

Cricket Wireless is an MVNO, but that doesn’t mean its phone options are too limited. While there are plenty of budget-friendly options — which maintain the affordable theme — Cricket also has many of the latest and greatest devices on the market, at least from Apple anyway.

You can pick up either the iPhone 11 or iPhone SE, and highlights on the Android side include the Samsung Galaxy S10 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 used to be 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.

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
1900MHz24G LTE
3G
1700/2100MHz44G LTE
2300MHz304G LTE
850MHz53G
700MHz174G LTE

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

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