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Cricket vs. Straight Talk: Which has the better prepaid phone plan?

Straight Talk's great phone compatibility makes it an easy choice for somebody that wants to get connected quickly and easily. While the plans favor a single line, it is possible to get a multiline unlimited plan for a good price. Cricket Wireless' plans make more sense for most people with enough data for smartphones on every plan and solid multi-line savings. Since Cricket has removed its speed limits and increased the size of its smallest data plan, it's a great pick if you have good AT&T network coverage.

Cricket Wireless vs. Straight Talk: Which is the best network for you?

Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and is the go-to option for people that want to stay on the network without signing up for a long-term contract. Cricket has in recent months modernized its plans by ditching its old speed limits and giving every plan access to nationwide 5G coverage. With its multi-line savings, it's a great choice for many families.

Straight Talk, like many MVNOs, lets you choose the network that makes the most sense for you whether you need better coverage of a network that works with your phone or want the flexibility to choose. It's worth noting that if you're signing up for an unlimited plan, AT&T SIM cards won't include hotspot data. If AT&T's network doesn't work for you, Straight Talk lets you use one that does.

Cricket WirelessStraight Talk Wireless
NetworkAT&TAT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon
5GYesYes
Multi-line discountsUp to five linesTwo-line option

Cricket Wireless vs. Straight Talk: Get the best coverage

AT&T has solid coverage nationwide, making it a reasonably safe choice for most people. While AT&T has earned a reputation for strong nationwide coverage, especially in rural areas, it doesn't offer nearly the same level of 5G coverage as T-Mobile and trades blows with Verizon. Still, if speed isn't a huge concern to you, the LTE coverage on AT&T should be more than adequate.

If you're looking for the best 5G experience, a T-Mobile SIM on Straight Talk is the way to go.

Straight Talk SIM choices

(Image credit: Straight Talk)

The network Straight Talk uses comes down to your phone. For most people, any of the major networks will provide solid coverage, but it's worth keeping in mind that prepaid carriers like Straight Talk and Cricket won't have the same roaming agreements as the big three. So if you see your phone dropping to roaming on a postpaid carrier, you may not want to stick with that network when you switch to a prepaid service.

Cricket Wireless vs. Straight Talk: Cricket's plans

Cricket's plans follow a similar formula to other prepaid carriers with unlimited talk, text, and 2G speed data on all plans. The cheapest plan comes in at $30 per month and has 5GB of data. Moving up to $40 per month, you get 10GB of data. This plan is also available for $5 less if you use auto-pay.

Cricket has two unlimited plans that reduce your video streaming quality to 480p (1.5Mbps). Usage in Mexico and Canada is included though Canadian usage can't make up more than 50% of your monthly usage. Texting to 37 countries is also included.

The top plan at $60 per month removes the speed limit and adds in 15GB of hotspot data. This plan gets an upgrade to premium data so data speeds stay high even with heavy usage. You also get free access to HBO Max with ads and 150GB of cloud storage.

All plans on Cricket get access to AT&T's nationwide 5G network as long as you have a compatible phone. There are also multi-line discounts on all plans except the 5GB option. If you're looking to bring your whole family, you can save more with Cricket.

5GB10GBUnlimited (Core)Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot (More)
Data5GB10GBUnlimitedUnlimited (Premium)
HotspotNoneNoneNone15GB
International textNoneNone37 countries37 countries
Video streamingFullFull1.5Mbps (480p)1.5Mbps (480p)
ExtrasN/AN/AN/AHBO Max (with ads)

Cricket has one more trick up its sleeve thanks to a partnership with Boingo and LinkNYC. Cricket phones will be able to automatically connect to these access points for free and data used while connected won't count against your Cricket plan data. Boingo provides coverage in areas like airports, sports arenas, and even military bases. LinkNYC has numerous points all over New York City with points that have been converted from pay phones with USB charging as well.

Cricket Wireless vs. Straight Talk: Straight Talk plans

Straight Talk keeps things simple as you might imagine from its name. The Basic plan at $30 per month is a solid option for a backup phone or for someone that just wants to make calls and texts. With 100MB of data, 1500 minutes, and unlimited texts, it's plenty for many light users to get by if they stick to Wi-Fi for data.

The majority of Straight Talk users will sign up for one of the Bronze, Silver, or Gold unlimited plans with unlimited talk and text. Bronze comes with 10GB of high-speed data (5GB can be used in a hotspot) and calls to Canada and Mexico. This plan is a fairly reasonable $35 per month.

Silver and Gold take the data to unlimited with a potential account review if you use more than 60GB in a month. Most people won't do this. The Siler plan comes with 5GB of hotspot data while Gold comes with 15GB. Siver comes in at $45 per month with Gold coming in at $55. You can save $5 per month on your first three months with auto-refill.

You can also get an international version for $60 that comes with unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling to Mexico, China, Canada, and India.

A Platinum upgrade is also available for $65 and takes the hotspot data up to 20GB. This also upgrades your video streams to 720p.

Cricket Wireless vs. Straight Talk: Will your phone work?

OnePlus n200 5G

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Pretty much any unlocked phone will work with Straight Talk thanks to its support for all four major networks. You can check on Straight Talk's website (opens in new tab) to be sure. Your phone must be unlocked so you may need to contact your carrier to be sure before you switch. For the most part, any phone that's been paid off is eligible.

Cricket will work with most unlocked GSM phones and you can quickly check your phone (opens in new tab) to know for sure. If you bought your phone from your previous carrier, you will need to make sure it's unlocked before switching over.

If you're ready for a new phone, you can either buy an unlocked phone from a site like Amazon or get one directly from the carrier. Cricket (opens in new tab) and Straight Talk (opens in new tab) both have a wide range of Android and iOS devices available and more expensive phones are available with financing from Cricket. It's also worth noting that if you buy an iPhone on Amazon, you need to get it with a Cricket subscription.

Cricket Wireless vs. Straight Talk: Which should you get?

Straight Talk has some solid options for customers and makes it as easy as possible to switch with a ton of network support. If you need to get connected right away, few options will be as hassle-free as Straight Talk. For most people, however, Cricket's plans make a lot more sense even with limited speeds. Multi-line savings make it a great choice for families especially if you get an unlimited plan. You just need to decide if the extra speed is worth it for Cricket's top-tier plan.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.