My parents have been using AT&T for almost three decades back when Bell South was still a thing on its own. They have used it for everything from home phone to internet and even cell phone service. They were convinced that bundling all of their services with one company was saving them money in the long run, and until recently, I assumed they were right.

In 2015, I found out just how much our phone plans were costing us and began searching for alternatives. Early this year, I finally convinced my parents to unbundle our phone plans with AT&T and move over to Cricket. They haven’t looked back since.

Buyer’s Guide: MVNOs

Why Cricket?

cricket-wireless-coverageAT&T is basically the only provider that has good coverage where we live, and since my parents are used to that, I knew our replacement provider had to have nearly identical coverage. After pouring over coverage maps from ever provider and MVNO I could find, I heard that Cricket expanded its LTE coverage, and it was available in our area.

Success! I had found a wireless provider with exactly the same coverage as AT&T. But I had more hurdles to jump. I knew my dad wouldn’t want to switch unless the savings were good enough, and I knew nothing about Cricket’s pricing.

cricketrateplanchart

Thankfully, Cricket’s plan pricing is the most straightforward I have ever seen. The prices that you see are the prices that you pay, and best of all, there is no contract. Cricket has a plan for pretty much everyone and data limits range from 1GB/month all the way to 10/GB along with a new unlimited plan. When you go over your data limit, you can still use as much data as you want, but the speed drops from LTE to 2G speeds. If you need another gigabyte of LTE data, you can add one on for that month.

My favorite part of Cricket’s plans are the group discounts. For each line you add to an account (up to 4 extra lines) you can save $10, $20, $30, and $40 each month, respectively. For a family of four, that is a savings of $60 every month.

cricket-wireless-group-save

After I had all the numbers, I started on the math. We spent around $230 every month with AT&T for 10GB of shared data. With Cricket, I could get 10GB of data, my mom could get 5GB, and my dad and grandparents could get 2.5GB each for only $130 a month. That is literally double the data for almost half the price. I was convinced, and thankfully, my parents were, too.

Making The Switch

For someone like me who knew nothing about the process of switching carriers, Cricket made the process extremely simple. After purchasing some Cricket SIM cards at a local store, all that was left was paying off what we owed on the two phones we had financed through AT&T Next (which is a program I do not recommend signing up for). Ironically, this was the most difficult part of the entire switch.

cricket-wireless-bring-your-own-phone

We spent over an hour in our local AT&T store with a representative who was trying her best to get our phones paid off. Apparently, AT&T had to separate our wireless service from the rest of the bundle in order for us to pay off the phones. After a long wait and several calls to corporate, the friendly representative got everything squared away, and we were free to use our current phones with Cricket.

cricket-activation

Cricket allows you to complete your entire switch and activation on its website, but since we were porting over our numbers, I decided to call customer assistance to avoid messing anything up. If you have ever worried about Cricket’s customer service, I can tell you right now it is one of the best I have ever encountered.

The woman I spoke to was extremely helpful and was able to get all four phones set up without any troubles at all. That was definitely a nice first impression of our new carrier. After that service call, our phones all had signal, and we were officially part of the Cricket Wireless family.

After the Switch

So how are we liking Cricket after using it for the past several months? We absolutely love it. The coverage in our area is just as good as it was on AT&T, and I actually have service now in areas I didn’t before. I just claim that as Cricket magic.

The only problem we have encountered happened a couple of months ago when Cricket’s service went offline. They had it back up and running within the day, and no one in my family has experienced any trouble since.

If it sounds like I am a total Cricket fanboy, I just might be. Cricket takes something that should be straightforward and simple (purchasing a phone plan) and actually makes it straightforward and simple. You see everything you pay for right up front, which means no hidden fees jacking up your final bill. If we ever need to change plans or add on features, all our plans can be managed from Cricket’s website or the MyCricket app on our phones.

When it comes time to upgrade our phones, the options are almost endless thanks to Cricket’s use of GSM connectivity. Great unlocked phones the OnePlus 3, IDOL 4S, or any of the Nexus (or Pixel) devices will work wonderfully with Cricket’s service. Although this is not different from AT&T (both use GSM), it is worth mentioning as unlocked phones are becoming more popular.

US carrier bands and networks

Final Thoughts

Although the initial switch was slightly expensive due to having to pay off the two phones we were financing, Cricket is saving my family more than $1200 dollars every year over AT&T and giving them more. This article is by no means meant to bash AT&T, but I believe that it along with the rest of the major carriers need to really think about their pricing.

Smaller MVNOs are picking up speed and providing the same plans for half the cost. If you are looking to cut the cost of your wireless plan, I wholeheartedly recommend that you take a look at what Cricket Wireless has to offer.

[graphiq id=”clweNZsluF7″ title=”Cricket Wireless” width=”500″ height=”748″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/clweNZsluF7″ link=”https://www.graphiq.com” link_text=”Visualization by Graphiq” ]

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14 COMMENTS

  1. love cricket it’s really a no Brainer unless At&t coverage just sucks in your area. If At&t is good in your area Cricket is the way to go. Prepaid prices with a postpaid retail presence.

    • Thanks for your comment! I definitely agree that Cricket is doing something right. There’s obviously cons to the service as well, which other comments have pointed out, but so far our experience with them has been lightyears better than AT&T.

  2. Hey cricket is Att. Cricket is Att mvno. All GSM CRICKET phone run off the Att national LTE etc network. When Att purchased cricket a couple years back the phased out crickets current CDMA devices which cricket had contracts with Verizon where they had not buit there own network. The offered free GSM devices for current customers to switch over to the Att network and stop sales and activation of CDMA devices. Now with that being said there are several reason crickets service is cheaper than parent company att. Here is why.1 no roaming. Your cricket phone is not allowed to roam off of the Att network.2 Att gives priority to ATT devices in times of high demand and usage.ie your device and another Att device attempt to make a call at the same time and the tower you two are using can handle one more device it will automatically grant access to the Att device while the cricket device will get busy signal. 3 your LTE speeds are capped cricket device are not able to utilize Att full LTE DATA SPEEDS. That’s just to name a few. For most much of what I posted won’t bother but its something to think about if you travel around the country and or need high speed data or ability to roam off network when warranted. All in all cricket is the best mvno due to the size of Att network. But to compare to a national carrier would come down to one persanol presence and or uses or needs of there network.

    • You’re definitely right! And this was not meant to be a full review of Cricket services or a full comparison between the spends and services of Cricket and AT&T. There are pros and cons to both companies. However for our needs, switching to Cricket is saving us crazy amounts of money, and the decreased speeds haven’t affected me much (I’m not even sure my parents have noticed haha)

  3. Kind of weird never mentioned the reason why Cricket is as good as AT&T is that it is a reseller of that network. Same connection, just lower priority, which might be an issue in high capacity areas. But agree: for half the price… Who cares? Unfortunately, our experience with their customer support was horrid and unprofessional. Almost sounded like our call was interrupting their office party. Good thing I don’t have to call them often.

    • Thanks for reading! I didn’t mention that Cricket was a subsidiary of AT&T because I didn’t feel like is was as important as simply stating the great coverage it has. Also, I don’t want people who read the article to expect the same coverage as they get with AT&T. As I said, Cricket has horrible LTE coverage in my area until the beginning of this year.

      But yes, you are definitely right as to the reason behind Cricket’s coverage. And if you ever have to call customer service again, try later at night because that’s when I called and got great help!

      • Good point, but it reads like “AT&T is as good as AT&T” for those who are aware, for those who aren’t, might feel misled when they figure that out. It’s good to know who the subs are…T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint each have theirs. May as well pay half price, if it gives you everything you need. The major carriers offer a great value at those price points, but the average person likely will never make use of them. I’m all for resellers. We’re still with Cricket, in fact.

  4. Congrats and welcome to the family. I’ve been using Cricket for close to 2 years now. I hear people all the time talking about data and their bill in the upper $100s. I kind of chuckle a bit.

    I moved to Cricket from AT&T GoPhone service. I was paying $60 for unl T&T/2.5gb data. The plan I jumped on with Cricket was $60 unl T&T/20gb (at that time). Getting 17.5 more data for the same price and same network… Yupppp! The local Cricket employees were horrendous and tried to pull the back off of my Nexus 5. Smh, good thing I was watching them. I looked at the guy and asked him if he knew what the hell he was doing which was an obvious ‘no’. Any way, they were no help. However, joining Cricket isn’t hard. I went on their website, bought a SIM card, and transferred my number to it. Also, you skip the $25 activation fee by doing it online. Got my sim and looked up their APN settings and BAM good to go. Switched to a Note 4 after that, and easily popped in the sim/APN settings. I’ve also used the sim in my Neptune Pine. It just works. And that… is the beauty of having unlocked phones and using something like Cricket. Freedom! Lastly, Cricket does have Mexico/Canada included in some of their plans. I went to Cancun late July. While some friends were bouncing off of their ‘roaming provider’ like Teleco (I think) and something else, my roaming provider was actually AT&T. Ha! I was getting 4G data while they were hoping for a signal or somewhere with wifi. Not bad for a prepaid service provider.

  5. I completely agree. I’ve been on cricket for almost 2 years, coming from US Cellular first, then TMobile. I can’t say enough good things about Cricket. I get 20gbs (Promo from awhile ago), pay 55 a month, and have zero bs on my bill. I think my favorite part of cricket is the zero bs bill, what it says it what you pay. My bill never made sense on TMobile. Also coverage is fantastic, since it is native ATT coverage. The data sleep is capped at 8mbps, but I’ve personally never had issues at that speed. Steaming has never been an issue. Perhaps if your a power user it could be problematic, but for an average user you should never have an issue.

    I love cricket, never thought I’d say that about my cell provider. Wish I could say that about cable/internet.

    • Definitely! The simplicity of Cricket’s plans is one of the best parts. And I totally hear you about the cable and internet providers. I wish more companies would start providing where I lived, and I’d switch immediately!

  6. Been with Aio > Cricket Wireless for ever :) IMO nothing beats the low cost and reliable(1 outage so far ?) service. Yes – the customer service is iffy at times, but the ‘cost’ more than makes up for it. Rock on Cricket !!!

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