Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Which carrier should you get?

Cricket Coverage Map S20+
(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile have both seen some fairly radical changes with their core plans over the past couple of years. Boost's new plans on its expanded network are targeted at other prepaid carriers with data starting at 1GB if you are willing to sign up for a year's worth of service. Cricket only has four main plans starting at 5GB with two unlimited options.

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: How many lines do you need?

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Boost Website on LG G8

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One of the main differences between Cricket and Boost is support for multi-line discounts. While Boost's two top plans have discounts for additional lines, Cricket supports discounts across its three top plans up to five lines. This includes its 10GB plan, which is a great fit for many people. If you need more than a couple of lines, you can save some money with Cricket.

Boost Mobile's two top unlimited plans come with 35GB of high-speed data and some hotspot data with extra lines available at a discount.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Cricket WirelessBoost Mobile
NetworkAT&TT-Mobile (Sprint legacy)
Speed capsNoneNone
Multi-line discountsAll plans except 5GBUnlimited plans only
International callingAvailableAvailable
Mexico and CanadaIncluded with unlimited plansAdd-on available
Hotspot data15GB with Unlimited Cricket MoreYes

Both carriers excel when it comes to calling and traveling to Mexico and Canada. Boost Mobile has a few different add-ons that help with this. There is a $5 per month Todo Mexico PLUS add-on that enables calls to and from Mexico as well as calls to Canada. It also comes with international texting and 8GB of data roaming in Mexico. Additionally, there is an International Connect PLUS add-on that enables calls to many more countries.

Cricket's unlimited plans come with service in Mexico and Canada. Cricket notes that data speeds may be reduced to 2G. You also text to for free 37 additional countries (opens in new tab).

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Cricket's plans

Cricket has four main plans that all include unlimited talk and text in the U.S. The smallest plan comes with a healthy 5GB of data for $30 per month. This plan doesn't get any auto-pay or multi-line discounts so it doesn't make sense for more than two lines. The 10GB plan does get multi-line and auto-pay discounts, so it matches the price at three lines for the 5GB plan.

Moving up to the smaller unlimited plan, Cricket Unlimited Core, your data is upgraded to have no limits, although you may experience slowed speeds if you're in a congested area. This plan also gets unlimited from the U.S. to 37 different countries.

Cricket Unlimited More adds a bit more with the data getting upgraded to premium data. That means that you'll be first in line on a congested tower so your speeds don't slow down. This plan also gets 15GB of mobile hotspot data, HBO Max with ads, and free usage in Mexico and Canada.

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Cricket Wireless plans breakdown
Header Cell - Column 0 2GB5GBUnlimited CoreUnlimited More
Talk, text, and picture mailUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
5G supportNationwide 5GNationwide 5GNationwide 5GNationwide 5G
HotspotNoneNoneAdd-on available15GB
Video streamingNo limit (480p default)No limit (480p default)480p 1.5Mbps480p 1.5Mbps
Single line price$30$40 ($35 with auto-pay)$55 ($50 with autopay)$60 ($55 with autopay)

All Cricket plans can access AT&T's nationwide 5G network so if you have a compatible phone, you're good to go. It's also worth noting that Cricket used to have speed cap on its plans but in late 2021, those were removed.

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Boost's plans

Boost Mobile keeps its plans fairly simple but getting the one that fits your needs can be a bit more complicated with some plans only being available for extended terms. While we've grown accustomed to multi-month plans from carriers like Mint Mobile Boost isn't quite so straightforward.

For the most part, Boost Mobile's smaller data plans are about the same except for the high-speed data amount. The plans get unlimited talk and texts in the U.S. and data is unlimited after the high-speed amount at 2G speeds. You can use your data as a hotspot if you please.

Boost's two unlimited are a lot more interesting. The smaller plan has 12GB of hotspot data with 35GB of high-speed data on your phone. You can also add lines for $30 per month, $20 less than the single-line price. The larger plan takes the mobile hotspot up to 30GB and adds $10 to the price tag.

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Boost Mobile plan breakdown
PlansMonthly3 months6 months12 months
1GB$100 ($8.33 per month)
2GB$15 per month
5GB$25 per month$45 ($15 per month)$90 ($15 per month)$168 ($14 per month)
15GB$240 ($20 per month)
Unlimited (35GB)$50 per month$90 ($30 per month)$300 ($25 per month)
Unlimited Plus (35GB)$60 per month

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Pick the right network

Cricket uses the AT&T network, which will work well for the majority of Americans. Cricket also supports nationwide 5G on AT&T, though it's worth keeping in mind that this network is still significantly smaller than T-Mobile's 5G on Boost Mobile. Still, most people will be happy with AT&T's strong LTE performance for a few years.

Boost Mobile is owned by Dish Wireless, and while Dish is hard at work building its own 5G network, for the time being, it's using T-Mobile. Some older phones may still be using the Sprint network but any new customers will be on T-Mobile. This is good news thanks to T-Mobile's strong performance and 5G coverage, which is available to anyone with a compatible phone in its entirety.

Boost Mobile coverage map as of 3/22/2022

(Image credit: Boost Mobile)

If you're after T-Mobile's 5G coverage but aren't convinced by Boost's plans, there are a ton of other T-Mobile MVNOs that offer the same coverage.

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: The phones

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On Cricket and Boost you can use just about any unlocked GSM phone. That means if you buy one of the best Android phones unlocked, it should work on either carrier just fine. You can also keep your old phone if it's unlocked and compatible with either network.

Keep in mind that older Boost Mobile phones that used the Sprint network might not be a good fit. While some models can work with the newer network, it's not a sure thing. It's worth checking before buying a used Boost phone.

Both carriers sell a collection of Android devices, though these phones trend more towards low and mid-range devices. Before you buy a phone through one of these carriers, keep in mind that it will be locked until it's paid off and you fulfill the carrier's unlock requirements. If you're looking to try out multiple new carriers, an unlocked phone is the way to go.

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile Which should you get?

Boost Website on LG G8

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Both of these carriers have plans and coverage competitive with the best MVNOs out there. Boost Mobile has done a lot to catch up with its competitors and now has plans that will work for just about anyone. If you only need 1GB of data, it's hard to find anything cheaper than Boost Mobile. Boost's 5G network is also a strong choice.

Still, most people will be better suited to Cricket's plan structure, especially if they're bringing more than one line. The multi-line discounts available with Cricket make it one of the best choices for a family. The Unlimited Core plan with four lines is just $100 per month and there aren't many other carriers that come close to that value.

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.