Cricket's Prepaid Unlimited Data Plans

Cricket's High Speed Highway is Capped at 8Mbps

Cricket Wireless Store
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Cricket, a prepaid wireless service provider owned by AT&T, began offering an impressive unlimited data plan in the Spring of 2016, after having long been known for its lack of support for unlimited, high-speed data. This plan was intended to directly challenge T-Mobile, with a cheaper price and more data.

But the plot thickens, and nothing is as simple as it seems...

High-Speed Data, Unlimited (Sort of)

Cricket's high-speed data plan is touted as unlimited, but Cricket caps download speeds on all its plans to 8Mbps for LTE devices and 4Mbps on 4G. Nonetheless, it's still among the best pre-paid plans on the market and takes advantage of AT&T's expansive network. 

The high-speed data plan costs $70 per month, with a $5 credit for customers who sign up for autopay.

However, the company has announced that, as of April 2, 2017, it will begin throttling back data speeds further after their customers have used 22GB of data on congested networks. That last part is important: Cricket claims that your data speed will be temporarily limited if the network you are on is congested; then the normal (already capped) 8Mbps should resume. The fine print doesn't define what a congested network means, so it's hard to evaluate the impact. 

Usage resets each month, and you can view and monitor your data usage using the app "myCricket" to ensure you are conserving enough data for any planned video streaming session. Cricket will notify you when you reach 75 and 100 percent of your monthly high speed quota. Of course, if you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, your cell data will not be impacted. 

In addition, Cricket is adding a data feature Stream More which allows the option for streaming HD video at a lower resolution of 480p, thus conserving your data usage.

Limited Data Plans

Cricket also offers a range of plans with limited data, from 1GB for $30 per month to 12GB for $60 per month. Again, enrolling in autopay reduces the monthly price for each plan by $5. Each plan also supports unlimited nationwide talk and texting.

But "limited data" is confusing here. These plans do support high-speed data, but only up to their cap, at which time speeds slow to a crawl at 128Kbps for the remainder of the monthly cycle. This is barely enough to check email, but you might be able to view a web page or two at this speed.  

Hot Spot, Anyone?

If you have a compatible phone, you can use your phone as a mobile hot spot to provide internet access to other devices, such as a laptop or tablet. Your devices connects to your phone via Wi-Fi or USB and uses its internet connection to connect to the Cricket network. Up to six devices can be connected to your Cricket phone at a time. Of course, this uses your monthly allotment of data, so it's good in a pinch but is probably not a strategy you want to integrate into your daily workflow.