Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T MVNO.

Cricket Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) or "alternative carrier". MVNOs lease coverage from the Big Four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) and sell it to customers for less. The benefit of an MVNO is that you experience the same level of service as a customer on one of the larger networks, but you can often find talk, text, and data plans for a fraction of the cost.

Cricket is owned by and leases coverage from AT&T. If you sign up with Cricket, that means you get AT&T's 4G LTE coverage, as well as unlimited plans.

Cricket Wireless coverage map

If you like AT&T's coverage, but you'd prefer a cheaper bill every month, then consider signing up with an MVNO. Here's what you need to know about Cricket Wireless.

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Individual plans

Cricket offers fairly straightforward unlimited talk and text plans with varying allotments of 4G LTE data. All plan prices are flat fees, with taxes and fees included. So you will only pay $30/month if you opt for the $30 plan, for example. All plans, except the $25/month Talk & Text plan, come with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data. Pricing varies depending on how much 4G LTE data you opt for.

1GB Basic (4GB LTE) Smart (8GB LTE) Unlimited 2 (22GB, slower LTE) Unlimited (22GB, faster LTE)
Price (monthly) $30 $40 $50 $55 $60
With Auto Pay $25 $35 $45 $50 $55
Extras Eligible for Group Save Discount Tethering included, International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount

The base plan is $25/month and includes only unlimited calling and texting, with no data access or multimedia messaging. $30/month gets you 1GB of 4G LTE data (max 8Mbps) ; $40/month gets you 4GB of 4G LTE and the plan is eligible for the $5/month Auto Pay discount (max 8Mbps) ; $50/month gets you 8GB of 4G LTE and the $5/month Auto Pay discount (max 8Mbps) ; $55/month gets you 22GB of data (max 3Mbps); and $60/month gets you 22GB of 4G LTE up to 8Mbps.

Note: If you want tethering (mobile hotspot), the only compatible plan is the 8GB $50/month plan. It's weird, but that's the way it is.

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Family plans

Cricket calls its family plans "Group Save Discounts". In order to receive the discount, each line of up to 5 lines must be on the $40/month 4GB plan or better. You save more with each line you add, for lines 2 to 5.

You save $10 off the second line, $20 off the third, $30 off the fourth, and $40 off the fifth, so if you have 5 lines, you can save $100 per month. The $5/month Auto Pay credit is not available when you use the Group Save Discount.

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Best Cricket Wireless phones

Since Cricket Wireless operates on AT&T's network, you can bring your own phone, and it can be just about any GSM device. Before you decide, however, you should check compatibility.

If you don't have a phone of your own to bring or want to update, these are the ones you should consider.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Arguably the best Android smartphone available, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a gorgeous phone with all the bells and whistles you could want in an Android device. It features a lightning-fast fingerprint sensor, as well as facial recognition and iris scanning to unlock it. The infinity display packs even more screen into a smaller form factor, helping to keep it just this side of "phablet" territory. The best part is that, if you join Cricket, you can get it for $699.99, which is $50 less than what AT&T is selling it for! If that price tag is too high, the Galaxy S7 is still holding up remarkably well.

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ZTE Blade X Max

A big phone at a small phone price, the ZTE Blade X Max is incredible value at $99.99. Exclusive to Cricket Wireless, the ZTE Blade X Max features a massive 6-inch HD display, a 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 435 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 13MP rear camera, and a 3400mAh battery, all running Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

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How to cancel Cricket Wireless

Cricket might just be the easiest service to cancel in the world. This is a direct quote from its website:

We don't want to see you go! But if you need to cancel your service, just stop paying.

Yeah. That's it. If you haven't paid within 60 days of your last Cricket pay date, your account will be canceled. Just be aware that once it's canceled, that's it: your number is made unavailable, your account is closed, and any remaining balance is removed.

If you have an account with more than one line, you'll have to give Cricket a call at 1-800-274-2538 (1-800-CRICKET) or dial 611 on your Cricket Wireless phone. You can also chat on the Cricket site.

How to unlock a Cricket Wireless phone

All you have to do is call 1-800-CRICKET (274-2538) and request an unlock code. You do, however, have to meet the following requirements:

  • The device you want to unlock has to have been active for at least 6 months or you're on an unlimited plan.
  • The device hasn't been reported as lost or stolen.
  • The phone is actually locked to Cricket's network.
  • The device isn't associated with a fraudulent account.

Basically, if you've been a customer in good standing for at least 6 months, you just have to ask.

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Finding another MVNO

If you like AT&T's coverage and are considering Cricket Wireless but want other options, then you may want to consider another MVNO that uses AT&T's network or another that uses multiple networks.

There are more than 15 MVNOs that use AT&T's network, so you have many to choose from, and some may work better in your area than others.

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