Ultra Mobile and Cricket Wireless are both MVNOs that use the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, respectively. Ultra Mobile offers several data plans with features such as 5G, free international calling, and mobile hotspot included with every plan, and by signing up for multiple months in advance, you're able to get an even better deal. While Cricket Wireless doesn't offer the same perks with every plan or any multi-month discounts, it does have impressive multi-line advantages that make it an excellent choice for a family.
Ultra Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: How does each carrier compare?
Ultra Mobile and Cricket Mobile are alternative carriers that offer customers affordable and inexpensive cell phone plans for a lower price than you would pay directly with the networks they use, T-Mobile and AT&T. When switching to an MVNO, you should first check which one will give you the best coverage in your area. From there, you can choose between Ultra Mobile and Cricket Wireless by deciding whether you would benefit more from multi-month savings or multi-line discounts. This is how the two plans compare on a basic level.
|Ultra Mobile||Cricket Wireless|
|5G||Included||Only with Cricket More Unlimited plan|
|Hotspot data||Included with all data plans
10GB limit on unlimited plan
|Only included with Cricket More Unlimited plan
15GB limit on unlimited plan
|International calling||80+ destinations included||Add-on feature|
|Mexico and Canada||Not included||Included with unlimited plans|
If you're thinking of buying a 5G phone and access to one of the best 5G networks is a priority, know that Ultra Mobile offers 5G access with every plan. Cricket Wireless only has nationwide 5G access on its top unlimited plan (Cricket More). Another difference between the two carriers is that Ultra Mobile has free mobile hotspot included with each plan. In contrast, only Cricket's top unlimited plan comes with 15GB included. Only the lower-tier unlimited plan (Cricket Core) lets you add a 10GB hotspot feature for an additional $10 per month.
Like with most MVNOs, your data speeds might be slower when towers are congested. Once you've used up your data allotment for the month, both Ultra Mobile and Cricket Wireless will reduce your data to 2G speeds. On top of that, Cricket Wireless also has 8Mbps speed caps on all of its plans except the Cricket More unlimited plan, which should be enough for most internet users that want to browse, use email, make video calls, and stream video. But if you plan on frequently downloading heavy files and want them fast, you would be better off with more speed.
Ultra Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Ultra Mobile's Plans
Ultra Mobile has several data plans you can pick from no matter what your needs are, starting at 250MB and going up to unlimited. Prices drop down as you sign up for three, six, or 12 months, with the best deal when you pay for 12 months upfront. Fortunately, you can change your plan at any time, and should you run out of data, you can always add 1GB for $10.
Each plan includes talk, text, high speed 4G LTE and 5G data, and free mobile hotspot. Hotspot usage draws from your plan's high-speed allotment, except on the unlimited plan where the hotspot data is capped at 10GB. This should be a decent amount for most people who like to use the internet when Wi-Fi isn't available. Another factor to note about the unlimited plan is that once you've reached 40GB, your data speeds will reduce to 2G speeds. Though most people will never reach that amount, it's something to keep in mind.
Ultra Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Cricket's Plans
Cricket Wireless is an MVNO owned by AT&T that offers four simple data plans with AT&T's 4G LTE network. Before signing up, check your coverage and make sure you get AT&T service in your area. If you decide to join Cricket, you'll have the choice between 2GB, 10GB, and two unlimited data plans. All plans come with unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data, but if you want additional features, you'll have to upgrade to one of the unlimited plans.
|2GB||10GB||Unlimited (Cricket Core)||Unlimited (Cricket More)|
|Hotspot||None||None||10GB add-on available||15GB included|
|International text||None||None||37 countries||37 countries|
|Mexico and Canada usage||Not included||Not included||Included||Included|
|Max data speed||8Mbps LTE||8Mbps LTE||8Mbps||No limit|
|Video streaming||Full||Full||1.5Mbps (480p)||1.5Mbps (480p)|
|5G access||None||None||None||Nationwide 5G|
Only the top Cricket More unlimited plan offers 5G access, 15GB of mobile hotspot data, and 150GB of cloud storage. However, it isn't the cheapest. You can expect to pay $60 per month for a single line, though this price drops down drastically to $33 per month when you add four lines.
If you don't actually need 5G access or any mobile hotspot data, the Cricket Core unlimited plan is a great deal and costs only $100 per month total for four lines. With this plan, you'll get unlimited international texting and usage in Mexico and Canada should you travel there. However, speeds are limited to 8Mbps, unlike the Cricket More plan, and you'll need to pay $10 extra if you want to add on 10GB of mobile hotspot data.
Ultra Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: International Perks
Ultra Mobile has some international features that come with its plans, including unlimited global texting and unlimited calling to 80+ international countries. If you have family or friends that you like to call abroad, this is a great perk to have. If you get a plan other than the 250MB plan, you'll also be given a recurring monthly international calling credit of $1.50 or $5 to use on any countries not covered in the 80+ destinations, as well as a one-time international roaming credit of $5.
If you're planning a vacation and you need more roaming credit, you can add $5, $10, or $20 to your "UpRoam" balance to be able to use call, text, and data while overseas. Ultra Mobile also has a "uTalk" feature for $10 that will give you 1,250 bonus minutes of talk to 39 destinations beyond the 80+ included in the plan, which is a great way to save money if you need to make calls to other countries.
Cricket Wireless comes with some international advantages of its own, but only with its two unlimited plans. These include unlimited international texts to 37 countries, as well as usage in Mexico and Canada. This means that if you like to travel to these countries, you'll be able to call, text, and use data as you would back home, so long as more than 50 percent of your usage isn't in Canada.
If you want more international benefits, you can also sign up for Cricket International, Cricket International Extra, or individual country add-ons as long as you're on a plan above the 2GB one. For $5 extra, Cricket International gives you unlimited calling to landlines in 35 countries, while Cricket International Extra adds additional mobile-to-mobile minutes to 31 countries for $15 extra.
Ultra Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Which phones are compatible?
Ultra Mobile runs on T-Mobile's network, so as long as you have a GSM unlocked device that supports VoLTE you should be good to go. However, it's never a bad idea to double-check online using Ultra's Bring Your Own Phone compatibility checker. All you need to do is type in your IMEI number to determine whether your device will work. If you're shopping for a new phone, Ultra Mobile also has a decent selection online for you to choose from, including some of the latest iPhones and Androids such as the Googel Pixel 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S21. The best T-Mobile phones should also work flawlessly with Ultra Mobile.
If you're hoping to bring your phone to Cricket Wireless, just about any GSM unlocked device should also work, including many of the best Android phones and iPhones. Like with Ultra Mobile, you can head online to Cricket's compatibility checker to double-check by typing in your IMEI number. You can also purchase a phone directly with Cricket Wireless, which sells popular options such as the Galaxy S20 FE. The selection of phones isn't quite as extensive as Ultra Mobile's, but there are still a few good picks.
Ultra Mobile vs. Cricket Wireless: Which is right for you?
When it comes down to budget, Ultra Mobile's plans are more affordable and especially worth it if you can sign up for a few months upfront. The unlimited plan would cost $40 per month (instead of $49) if you sign up for 12 months, but if you need less data, then the 6GB plan would only cost $25 (instead of $29) per month for 12 months. Not only does hotspot data come included with each plan, but you'll get great coverage with the T-Mobile network along with unlimited international calling.
Cricket Wireless is a better choice for you if you need multiple lines and are interested in one of its unlimited plans. The two unlimited plans cost $60 and $55 per month for a single line, but this price drops to $33 and $25 per month when you have four lines. Along with great AT&T coverage, the Cricket More unlimited plan gets you 5G access, 15GB of mobile hotspot, and usage in Mexico and Canada. This becomes a comparable deal to what Ultra Mobile has to offer, and you won't have to sign up for multiple months in advance to get it.
Buy in bundles
Get the best deal by buying in bulk
Ultra Mobile offers a range of data plans on T-Mobile's network from 250MB to unlimited, with one that is guaranteed to work for you.
Save on your bill with multiple lines
Cricket Wireless has four core plans to choose from with service on AT&T's network, and if you need multiple lines, you'll be able to save much more.
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