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

Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile have both seen some fairly radical changes in their core plans over the past couple of years. Cricket's plans are more competitive than ever with solid savings for multi-line accounts with its unlimited plans. Boost Mobile makes more sense for someone with just a single line and with some multi-month options, there are still ways to save with Boost. Boost also has some great add-ons including Todo Mexico which comes with calls to Mexico as well as data while visiting the country.

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

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Boost Mobile web page on an S20+

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

One of the main differences between Cricket and Boost is the support for multi-line discounts. Cricket is a clear leader here with its three biggest plans enjoying multi-line discounts with up to five lines. Boost is more focused on multi-month plans with some of its best values available with its 12-month plans. If you can only sign up for a month or three, you still have options with Boost though your prices will average out higher per month.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Cricket WirelessBoost Mobile
International callingAvailableAvailable
Mexico and CanadaIncluded with unlimited plansAdd-on available

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.

Cricket's plans

Utilizing AT&T's vast network, Cricket offers 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. If you're bringing a family, this plan will likely be the best value for you.

Cricket Unlimited Plus 15GB Mobile Hotspot plan 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, Max with ads, and free usage in Mexico and Canada.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 5GB10GBUnlimited Unlimited + 15GB Mobile Hotspot
Talk and textUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
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)

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.

The standard Unlimited plan also comes with a 12GB mobile hotspot, while the Unlimited Plus plan includes a 30GB mobile hotspot and the Todo Mexico add-on.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Monthly3 months12 months
Unlimited Plus$60
Unlimited (new customers only)$25

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

(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

The back of the Charcoal Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

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 toward 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.

Which should you get?

Boost Mobile app on smartphone screen

(Image credit: 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.

Samuel Contreras

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.

With contributions from