Cellphones— love them or hate them—are a part of life in the 21st century. Many people have given up their phone lines at home because they prefer using their cellphone number for primary contact. If you don’t have a cellphone now but would like to jump into the digital world, there are lots of options to choose from.
Along with the 'Big Four' cellphone service providers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile), there are smaller providers that offer less expensive phones and/or plans. These options can be confusing, but with some research in advance, you can find the right provider for your needs. Cricket Wireless might be the right one for you.
What is the monthly fee?
|Depending on the plan you sign up for, it could be as low as $25/month|
How easy is it to return?
|Items purchased online or in a store have a 7-day return policy|
Is the product easy to use?
|Cricket offers phonesthat use touch screens, which are very easy to use|
Can I cancel my plan?
|You can cancel anytime, but costs for service are non-refundable|
Ease of access
|Contact customer support by phone, email or online chat|
How much are the phones?
|Smartphones range in price from $19.99 to over $1,000|
Can I make international calls?
|International calling is available as an add-on service|
Can I get music with my plan?
|Yes, with most phones. You will need a plan that includes data|
Can I stream videos?
|Yes, with most phones. You will need a plan that includes data|
Is coverage nationwide?
|Cricket advertises nationwide coverage, but there may be some gaps|
Learning to use a cellphone is usually not that difficult, especially if you need only talk and text. Smartphones can be a bit more of a challenge, since there are programs that use data included in your plan. For younger seniors, this is likely not problematic. Those with fewer vision or hearing problems should find cellphones very easy to use. However, for an older senior who has not had the opportunity to use a cellphone in the past, or who is having vision problems or cognitive issues, using a cellphone might pose a challenge.
Smartphones have small screens that might be difficult to see. Understanding how a cellphone works may be difficult for those with cognitive impairment. Cricket Wireless offers phones that are compliant with hearing aids, which makes using them friendlier for those with hearing deficits.
Cellphones are small devices that are easy to stow in a purse or pocket. If you are a senior in great health who is still quite active, you will find them an unimposing addition to your outings. They make it very easy to stay in touch with friends and relatives, and to keep your appointments on track. For seniors whose health may be failing, cellphones can still be helpful, but if there are vision problems or arthritis, use of a smaller device will be difficult. The small size of the device can make it difficult to see the screen or numbers on a keypad.
If dementia is a concern, using a cellphone may not be of value unless there is help from a family member or friend nearby. Obviously, a flip phone may be easier for some to handle, but there are buttons to push which could be difficult for those with arthritis.
Cricket Wireless is one of the more commonly-known wireless companies that offers reduced rates on phones and cellphone service. It is a subsidiary of AT&T and uses its network. The company offers basic phones, smartphones, or the ability to keep your previous phone. Plans are reasonably priced. A simple talk and text plan is $25/month, and price points for data plans make good sense. Most folks could get a nice plan for $55/month that includes data access, unlimited talk & text, and calls to and from Canada and Mexico. But that doesn't include Cricket Protect, the insurance to cover damage to your phone, which is $7/month.
Another additional charge that you might encounter is more data, which is $10 for 1 GB. You need to be cautious about the plan you purchase. Make sure it's for what you really need, so you can avoid additional charges. Furthermore, there is a seven-day return window. Other companies offer 14 or 30 days, so this seems very restrictive. Another irksome issue is the website. If you simply click around and look at the options for phones and plans, you can easily miss some information. There are pages hidden that you won't see, such as the list of prepaid phones and plans, senior phones and plans for AARP members, unless you review the sitemap.
In any case, the Better Business Bureau gives Cricket Wireless an A+ rating, which gives you some sense that the company tries to resolve consumer complaints. Cricket has earned a spot in the top tier of companies that offer reduced price phones and plans.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the coverage area of service?
There is mostly LTE coverage in the East and Midwest, with some spots of 3G or 3rd party coverage. However, west of the Mississippi River, there are large swaths where there is no service at all. Coverage is dependent on where you live.
Does the company offer a payment plan on devices?
Cricket has partnered with Progressive Leasing to provide a lease-to-own agreement option. Not all devices are eligible for leasing under this program. You must undergo a credit check to participate.
What is the process for refilling my account?
Cricket's normal plan requires monthly payments. The company offers a ‘prepaid’ plan, but it is the same plan as those that are paid monthly after the month is complete. Instead, you pay ahead of time for the plan you need.
Overview: Cricket Wireless offers a great variety of cellphones, including the basic flip style, and smartphones. The choice depends on whether you want talk and text or need a combination with data. All offered plans are paid monthly, with no annual contract. There are several options for plans, and various add-on features.
Package Details: Phones vary in price from $20 to over $1,000. The most basic plan is unlimited talk and text for $25/month. There are several options for plans with data. These include a 2GB plan, a 5GB plan and two unlimited plans. One unlimited plan (Cricket Unlimited 2) limits speed to 3 Mbps. The high speed unlimited plan does not limit speed, unless you have used 22GB of data in a month.
Other Services: Leasing through Progressive Leasing and Cricket Protect (insurance for phone damage). The company also offers AARP members an online rebate, which is $20 when you verify AARP membership.
Contract Details:Cricket does not require annual contracts, but is a month to month service. The website includes a Terms & Conditions of Service page that outlines what you are agreeing to when you sign up for the monthly service, activate the service, open device packages, and start using any application. The Terms and Conditions should be read carefully before agreeing to the services.
Customers are required to pay for any charges that are made before cancellation is requested. If you cancel prior to the end of a monthly cycle, you forfeit any unused balance on your account. If you pay your bill at a Cricket location, you will be charged a $3 customer assistance fee.
Devices can be returned within seven days in their original packaging, and must include any additional items that were included. If the customer sets up autopay, there is a discount of $5.
Warranty: Cellphones can be returned within seven days of purchase if purchased at a retail location, or seven days from receipt of an online purchase, for a refund. There is a $25 restocking fee when you do return a phone. At the end of the seven-day period, the manufacturer warranty is in force. A standard warranty exchange is at no cost to the customer.
Accreditations: Cricket Wireless has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but is not accredited.
Company Details: Cricket Wireless is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc. The company was founded in 1999 by Leap Wireless International, Inc. In 2013, AT&T agreed to acquire the company. The company uses the AT&T network and has roaming agreements with Sprint and other CDMA carriers. The current president of Cricket is John Dwyer. Prior to leading Cricket, he worked for AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions. He also held key roles in sales and customer service. Outside of work, Dwyer is very involved in youth development programs and serves on the board of directors for the Boy Scouts of Georgia.
Cricket Wireless, LLC
575 Morosgo Dr., 2nd Floor
Atlanta, GA 30324