Cricket receives mediocre marks for plans, performance and customer service in reviews. Its plans are limited (though competitively priced), but its coverage is also limited. Cricket's customer service draws mixed reviews, and its phone selection is adequate. AT&T is in the process of purchasing Cricket, which could dramatically alter its plans, phones and coverage areas.
Inexpensive but limited. Subscribers report that Cricket Wireless is cheaper than average, and TopTenReviews.com gives the carrier top marks for the flexibility of its monthly plan options. Cricket offers only monthly plans, with separate plans for basic phones and smartphones. Unlimited voice, text and data for basic phones is $35 per month. All the smartphone plans, which start at $50 per month, include unlimited talk, text and data; the difference is in the monthly high-speed data allowance.
Limited regional coverage. Reviewers rate Cricket highly for features and praise the quality of its domestic coverage. However, some reviewers deduct points for its limited coverage area. The pending acquisition by AT&T could drastically improve the carrier's reach.
Different ratings from users and experts. In J.D. Power and Associates' survey of prepaid wireless users, Cricket Wireless receives low ratings for overall customer satisfaction. User contributors to PrepaidReviews.com more often than not cite poor customer service as their top complaint. In contrast, editors at TopTenReviews.com give full marks for customer service to Cricket, but it's unclear how extensively they tested the carrier.
Covers all bases. Cricket offers basic, 4G LTE, Android and iPhone phones, though iPhones are not available in all the regions Cricket covers. Basic phones start at $20; Android phones include the Samsung Galaxy S4 (Est. $550) and the ZTE Source (Est. $150).
1. J.D. Power & Associates
J.D. Power and Associates surveys over 5,000 subscribers of pay-as-you-go wireless plans. Users rate their purchase experiences made by phone calls to sales representatives, visits to retail stores or online. Cricket is one of three prepaid providers that garner only 2 stars out of 5.
Review: 2013 Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Aug. 15, 2013
2. J.D. Power and Associates
In the 2013 J.D. Power Customer Care survey of non-contract cell phone users, Cricket performs poorly, landing in second-to-last place. Cricket's score of only 2 out of 5 is well below the no-contract industry average.
Review: 2013 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Non-Contract Performance Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Feb. 6, 2013
Cricket Wireless is a favorite of the editors at TopTenReviews.com, receiving the Bronze award and ranked behind Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. It receives full marks for its phone selection and its customer support. With limited coverage, charges for roaming and no pay-as-you-go plans, Cricket gets only a so-so rating, however.
Review: 2014 Best Prepaid Cell Phone Reviews and Comparisons, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not Dated
Cricket Wireless receives a 3-star rating (out of 5) by editors and 2 stars from users at PrepaidReviews.com. The editors note that Cricket's plans are inexpensive, but the trade-off is limited coverage. Users, on the other hand, more often than not cite poor customer service as their top complaint.
Review: Cricket Wireless Prepaid Service Plans, Editors of and Contributors to PrepaidReviews.com, Not Dated
5. USA Today
Pegoraro likes the iPhone plans with both Virgin Mobile and Cricket. He reports that Virgin Mobile offers the greatest potential savings and wider geographic network coverage. However, Cricket could be a better choice for those who plan to use their iPhones outside of the U.S.
Review: Cricket or Virgin: What's Best iPhone Deal?, Rob Pegoraro, June 16, 2012
More than 100 reviewers at Viewpoints.com aren't happy with Cricket Wireless. The carrier receives below-average scores in all categories, including call quality, plan options and features. Coverage and customer service come in for the most criticism.
Review: Cricket Wireless Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of December 2013