cricket wireless review 2019

Cricket Wireless Review: How I Saved Thousands On My Cell Phone Bill

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If you're like most people, your phone bill is way too expensive. For years, we had AT&T but we switched to Cricket Wireless a few years ago and saved a TON of money. One of us recently switched to Mint Mobile to try it out and have loved that as well.

Make sure you don't miss my Mint Mobile review! Both Mint and Cricket offer compelling products at a fraction of the prices of the major carriers.

Let's be honest, living without a cell phone seems nearly impossible for most people, so finding a cheaper alternative is your best bet.

It’s hard to imagine a time without cell phones. For many people it’s the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see at night.

We aren't here to curb your cell phone addiction, but rather help you pay less for your phone bill.

Today I'll focus on how to save money on your cell phone bill.

Because cell phones have become an essential device in everyday life, one would think there would be tons of options when it comes to cellular service. But in reality, there are just a handful of large carriers.

As phone screens get larger, so do the monthly prices cell phone companies charge us. In an effort to reduce our monthly bills we searched until we found the cheapest phone plans. This was back in the fall of 2014, and in the years since we made the switch, we’ve each saved over $1,500!

The savings add up quickly and compound over time!

Cricket Wireless At A Glance

cricket wireless review logo
Plan CostPlans start as low as low as $25/month
Plan TypesMonthly
Features
  • You Can Bring Your Own Phone
  • You Can Keep Your Existing Phone Number
  • Discount For Automatic Billing
  • Requirements
  • Unlocked Phone Necessary
  • $25 Activation Fee
  • Clicking Below will take you to the Cricket Wireless website to sign up.


    Visit Mint Mobile

    Why we jumped to Cricket from AT&T

    We chose to switch from one of the large carriers to one that was more affordable. 

    Ultimately, for our needs, Cricket Wireless was the best deal. You can easily port over your existing cell number, and all you have to do is just make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with their network.

    They likely won't buy out your existing contract so you might need to get creative if you are locked in with your carrier.

    When we made the jump, there weren’t any physical Cricket Wireless locations near us, so everything was done online. They mailed out a SIM card within a week and we were set. We do think it’s worth noting that Cricket is owned by AT&T, but their pricing and flexibility would lead you to believe they are unrelated.

    The low-cost phone carriers like Cricket have a variety of plans available.

    Cricket, in particular, has plans ranging from $25 (no data) to $60 (unlimited data) and everything in between. Their monthly prices also include all taxes and fees! No more hidden fees in the fine print that show up on your bill. But you should take into account a $25 activation fee.

    We opted for a plan in the middle of their range since we don’t need unlimited high speed data with WIFI access at home and work.

    Cricket Wireless Reception

    One thing a lot of our friends have asked us is if we have noticed worse reception or coverage.

    The good news is that we have not, and we actually think we have fewer dropped calls now. The one time we felt we had worse service was on a trip to a remote part of Vermont. Some of our friends with AT&T still managed to get 1 bar of service in the middle of nowhere. If you live out in a forest it’s probably worth looking into before making the switch, but the 99% of you that live in a city or suburb will be more than fine.

    We never had a problem with service and were pleasantly surprised that we felt we got the same product for less!

    What’s The Catch?

    The biggest thing to know is that there isn’t an option to buy a new phone at a discounted price. At least for the ‘latest and greatest' models of iPhones and Samsung phones. You also can’t pay for a new phone on a monthly basis without running that chance of paying interest.

    When we get new phones we pay the full price of the phone outright, which is not cheap. But when you run the numbers, paying for the phone outright is the optimal choice anyway.

    However, we recommend that you do not upgrade your phone every year and wait until it is absolutely necessary. Believe it or not, an iPhone can last years! We just don’t recommend upgrading the operating system very often since that can slow you down. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it!

    Contrary to all of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy commercials, you do not need to upgrade to the latest phone every year. We promise that the people on the other end of the line (or text thread) cannot tell whether you are texting or calling on an iPhone 4s or iPhone X. If you are the kind of person who needs the latest and greatest phone regularly, please read our article on lifestyle creep

    With that said, there are many cheaper alternatives to iPhones. We know plenty of people that are happy with many types of phones (Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC). Remember, a phone is just a tool used to communicate, stay organized, and take photos. It’s not your identity and it is not who you are. If your phone defines who you are, then personal finance is probably the least of your worries!

    Once you build your net worth you can splurge on a phone.

    Bring Your Own Phone

    When we first switched, we simply unlocked our phones and kept our existing iPhones. You can use this tool to see if your current phone will work on their network!

    How Much Can You Save Each Year?

    Cricket Wireless is not the only low-cost cell phone company on the market. Cricket is simply one of our favorites, has great coverage where we live, and has only gotten better over time. In fact, a few months ago we got a text message from Cricket saying that they were increasing the data on their data plans at no additional cost!

    So how much can this actually save you? Look at the example below.

    How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

    Note: The information in the table below is accurate as of 03/2018; Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile do not offer a 5GB plan.

    These are not the cheapest plans available, simply the cheapest equivalents plans (equal amounts of data). For our plans, we signed up for Cricket's auto-pay to save an additional $5 each month, which is a no-brainer. Who wants junk mail, anyway? Not me.

    We saved $540 a year. With no noticeable change in service or quality.

    By choosing the Cricket Wireless plan with automatic payments from the example above you’d save $540 each year ($420 vs $960)! That’s half a grand you can save each year or use to pay down your high interest debt like credit cards! Or use it for your family's Christmas celebration.

    If your current plan is even more expensive, or you’d be switching multiple lines for your family, you’d be saving even more. Multiple lines will make the savings add up quickly.

    We used this information to convince our friends and family to switch to Cricket Wireless almost 4 years ago. Needless to say, they still thank us when they get their phone bill. We encourage you to do the same!

    Ready to Switch? Click here to read our step-by-step guide!

    Francisco Maldonado

    Francisco Maldonado, MD is a personal finance expert who was raised in poverty by a single mother and had to learn everything about personal finance on his own. In addition to running his personal finance site, The Finance Twins, with his twin brother, his site has been featured on ForbesBusiness InsiderCNBCUS NewsThe Simple Dollar and other top publications. Francisco is a physician who borrowed over $200,000 to pay for his medical training and understands debt payoff strategies and frugal living. He received his M.D. from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, the most selective medical school in the country, and a Bachelors degree in physiology from the University of Minnesota. He is currently a radiology resident at Northwestern University. You can contact Francisco here or via Instagram @thefinancetwins.

    20 thoughts to “Cricket Wireless Review: How I Saved Thousands On My Cell Phone Bill”

        1. Everything in this article is true. I’ve been with Cricket since around 2004 when it first moved to the East coast. Customer service used to be bad, but has improved a lot.

    1. I switched from T-mobile to Cricket a few years ago. We have 5 phones on our plan and we’re paying almost $400 a month on T-mobile. I have convinced several family members and a few friends to switch over to Cricket, too. I now pay $125 per month for unlimited talk, text and data on all 5 phones! I love Cricket!!

        1. Cricket was new to my area.
          Went in kicking tires. Mgr said free phone, hotspot data, yadda yadda.

          Went back couple days later, new questions answered. I could try it out. If it doesnt work, bring back. She said I could even keep the phone. I wouldn’t – but worth noting.

          She’s SUPER helpful. Screen director. Nice case.

          I get home, works OK – not as good as old, but ok. THEN I find out I can’t get refund for $800 credit on current provider. I can’t get refund on the “BLU” I bought from Amazon. I can’t even reset to factory defaults – have to ship to get *THEM* to do it!

          Not going to work.
          Back to store.
          Oh.
          Oops.
          THAT PHONE wasn’t the FREE one. THAT one was $275.
          I COULD return it, but… No refund of screen-guard. Case. $50 initiation fee (WAS free, but have to pay if cancelled) restock fee. As if I would have to pay them to take it!
          It would be best for me to keep it & sell it myself.

          I was PISSED OFF! But OK.
          I put it for sale. Soon learn I really CAN’T sell it. It’s locked up tight.
          Thanksgiving weekend.

          FIRST THING Mon, call cricket.
          THEY won’t help me – it’s been over 7 days. Tues to Mon is 7 days ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
          NOPE. THEY count when I bought it as day 1. Thanksgiving weekend!
          Doesn’t matter.

          I’m struggling with my temper, but keep it controlled.
          Speak to stupidviser.
          They won’t refund.
          They won’t give me the unlock key.
          They won’t even port my NUMBER!
          THAT had to be done up front!

          I have recordings. I went to Visa. Sent recording & snaps showing only 1 call ever. Never even set it up.
          NOW they say to turn it off. They will handle. She says they will get them straight. At this point I’ll drag them into court.

          It BLOWS ME AWAY!!

          As a young male, I was a rageoholic. I LOVE that feeling. It is like a drug. There is a THING inside me…
          I am the most gentle man you will ever meet – I am capable of ENDLESS gentleness because I am capable of unspeakable violence.

          I WILL NOT let that THING out of its cage. I am in charge. I REFUSE to let an idiot drive me to debase my own dignity. These people pushed me as close as I’ve been in more than half a lifetime.

          I NEVER raised my voice, never cursed – I was polite as it is possible to be.

          They have *ZERO* reason to dislike me – it is not as if I acted out and deserve this.

          The “supervisor” wasn’t even listening to me. He muted his phone and was not even listening. After being sure he was gone, I said things about his mother, Tijuana and a donkey. He DEFINITELY wasn’t listening X-D

          I will do all in my power to run them out of town on a rail!

          1. If the phone was a free phone with port I’m guessing…. Then just port your number out to whatever provider you want to bitch about next! All your really out is the 1st month you payed for with a prepaid provider! Little tip for everyone….prepaid service is non-refundable in 99% of cases!!!

      1. I understand greatly about the $400 a month. I was with Sprint for 20 years and was paying over $400 a month seemed as though Sprint was going up on my bill every month. So I decided to switch to Cricket, now paying $80 a month on my phone. I was experiencing drop calls on a regular with Sprint and I don’t have many with Cricket. Switching to Cricket has been the best decision I’ve made. I don’t have an iPhone like I had with Sprint but my phone is durable.

    2. I have been using Cricket for a couple of years now and I was happy with them. HOWEVER, I don’t know if you guys are interested or not but the second PG&E turned off the power last week, AT&T/Cricket cell service and data went down.

      If you are in need of emergency help, you cannot call 911 or access your data. It was 2.5 days knowing that if there’s a fire or are in need of emergency services in the middle of a Red Flag warning, you cannot call 911 for help. Totally unacceptable.

      And as all the services were restored magically RIGHT AFTER the power was restored tells me AT&T/Cricket HAS NO SECONDARY POWER SOURCE for the AT&T tower here in my area for emergency services. The Verizon tower also went down during the power outage but was restored quickly while the power was out. That says a lot. Like if you want to be able to contact the outside world during a PG&E power shutdown….don’t go with Cricket. Just thought I’d share.

      1. Wow. You’re the first person to bring this up, Cathy. Hopefully AT&T will learn from this and have a back-up power source for any future emergencies! Do most people in your area have other forms of communications to use during emergencies (radios etc.)? I’ve never lived in an area where there are Red Flag warnings, so just curious.

        1. Yes while this is a financial blog, it is important to remember that there are actually trade offs. A business would not let a subsidiary just sell the same thing cheaper. For example…I have 4 phones with unlimited everything for $100.00 a month. This makes excellent fiscal sense but I do have to compromise. When I was with AT&T I paid $160 for 2 lines for unlimited everything. The difference is call priority on the towers, call clarity, and data throughput. At AT&T My speed of LTE connection was around 48 Mbs on the best days. With Cricket it is 10 Mbs on its best days. I don’t have any increase in dropped calls, but the clarity isnt what it was with AT&T. Finally I noticed that sometimes I get “network” busy messages that I very rarely got at AT&T at about a ratio of 5:1 (Cricket:AT&T). So there are compromises to be had. The good news is that they are very tolerable from my stand point, and I’m an IT professional so speed is a pet peeves of mine. As far as my phone goes I can deal with it! These are important figures your readers should know about and they will vary from area to area, but I got a good comparison because AT&T was steller and Cricket is good.

      2. I think you should move to another area. I live in New England where storms are one after the other and I have never experienced any kind of problem with cricket wireless.

    3. I have been employed at Cricket Wireless for 3 years now, and hands down the best no contract service out there. I currently have Cricket Wireless service myself, and I am pleased to say it’s well worth the money and the savings. Great coverage

    4. I have been using cricket for years I love them a great selection of phones excellent service even the warranty department is phenomenal my phone stop charging. I called in to a store asked a couple questions they gave me the manufacturer number called dropped the phone off at the ups store for free and within 3 days I have a brand new phone. . prices are good phone are great plans are flexible and affordable even for 5 lines I have five lines myself i pay 130 they even have the option to pay 10 a month to have hot space transfer your data to any device great service thank you cricket for giving middle class a break

    5. I have been a customer since 2011 with cricket and never had a drop call. I enjoy the service, customer service and my easy to work phones plus they offer upgrades too. Thank you for confirming I am making the right decisions. #greatarticle

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