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

We've decided to compare Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile as both these prepaid wireless carriers have seen some fairly radical changes in their core plans over the past couple of years. Cricket is now more competitive than ever, with solid savings for multi-line accounts with its unlimited plans.

On the other hand, Boost makes the most sense for those who only want one connection, but there are still multi-month options that can help you save a lot. Boost also offers some great add-ons like Todo Mexico, which includes unlimited calls to both landlines and mobiles when you're in the country.

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

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Boost Mobile web page on an S20+

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

One of the primary differences between Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile is their support for multi-line discounts. Cricket is a clear leader here with its three biggest plans giving you multi-line discounts (with up to five lines). Boost is more focused on multi-month plans, with some of its best values available with 12-month plans. If you can only sign up for one month or three, you'll still have options with Boost, although the prices will average out higher per month.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Cricket WirelessBoost Mobile
NetworkAT&TT-Mobile (Primary)
International calling & textingAvailableAvailable
Mexico and CanadaIncluded with unlimited plansAdd-on available
Mobile hotspotIncluded with unlimited plansShared/Dedicated based on plan
Extra data add-onsAvailableAvailable

Both prepaid carriers excel when it comes to calling while you're 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 add-on that enables calls to and from Mexico, as well as calls to Canada. It also comes with international texting and up to 8GB of data when roaming in Mexico. Additionally, there is a Global Talk & Text add-on that adds calls and text messaging from the US to more than 200 countries around the world.

You get service in Mexico and Canada with unlimited plans of Cricket Wireless. Also included is texting from the United States to 37 additional countries.

Cricket's plans

Utilizing AT&T's vast network infrastructure, Cricket Wireless offers four main plans that all include unlimited talk and text in the United States. 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, matching the price at three lines with the 5GB plan.

Moving to the smaller unlimited plan, Cricket Unlimited Core, your data is upgraded to have no limits, although you may experience reduced speeds when in a congested area. This plan also gets unlimited texting from the United States to 37 countries. If you're bringing a family, this plan will likely be the best value for you.

The Cricket Unlimited Plus 15GB Mobile Hotspot plan adds a little bit more, with your data getting upgraded to premium data. That means that you'll be the first in line on a congested tower and your speeds won't be reduced. This plan also offers 15GB of mobile hotspot data, Max with ads, and free usage in Mexico and Canada.

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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 prepaid carriers like Mint Mobile, Boost Mobile isn't quite straightforward.

For the most part, Boost Mobile's smaller data plans are about the same except for the high-speed data amount. The plans offer unlimited talk and texts in the United States and data is unlimited after the high-speed amount, albeit at 2G speeds. You can use your data allotment for hotspot too if you please.

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

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Monthly3 months12 months
1GBNot availableNot available$100
5GB$15$45 (new customers only)Not available
15GBNot availableNot available$240
Unlimited Plus$60Not availableNot available
Unlimited (new customers only)$25Not availableNot available

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Pick the right network

Cricket Wireless uses the AT&T network, which will work well for the vast majority of Americans. It also supports nationwide 5G on AT&T, though it's worth noting that this network is still significantly smaller than the T-Mobile 5G used by 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 the parent company is hard at work building its own 5G network infrastructure, for the time being, it primarily uses T-Mobile. Some older phones may still be using Sprint's network, but new customers will be on T-Mobile. This is good news, thanks to T-Mobile's strong performance and 5G coverage, which will be available in its entirety to anyone who owns a compatible phone.

(Image credit: Boost Mobile)

If you're after T-Mobile's 5G coverage but aren't convinced by Boost Mobile's plans, there are a ton of other T-Mobile MVNOs offering the same coverage available for you to pick from.

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. This 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, provided it's unlocked and compatible with either network.

Do note that older Boost Mobile phones that used Sprint's 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 are largely affordable 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 one to go for?

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 Wireless make it one of the best choices for families. 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.

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