Two months after being snapped up by AT&T as part of the Leap Wireless acquisition, there's a new Cricket in town. The newly relaunched prepaid carrier service is being rolled together with AT&T's home-brewed AiO Wireless prepaid brand, and will eventually transition off Cricket's MVNO agreement with Sprint (that's an awkward position for AT&T, eh?) to devices that run on AT&T's own network.
As a budget pre-paid carrier, Cricket is offering three low-cost smartphone plans. All include unlimited talk and text, which has become the bare minimum for any carrier plan these days. The real money is in the data package, where a Cricket customer could get 500MB of LTE data for as little as $35-a-month (that's including taxes and fees, with a $5 credit if signed up for automatic payments). If that's not enough for you, bumping up to $45-a-month will net 2.5GB of data, while $55-a-month gets 5GB.
Once customers go over that limit their data speeds are throttle back, but access continues, much like T-Mobile's recent elimination of overage charges. If the customer wants more high speed data, they'll have to pay for it. The Aio Group Save family plan discount of up to $90-a-month is carrying over to Cricket, and customers can also get international call plans starting at $15 a month, as well as unlimited international texting plans.
As far as phones are concerned, the new Cricket is offering a healthy selection of devices off AT&T's network, including the Android-powered Moto G at $149.99, the popular and highly affordable Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 520 for $99.99, and even the iPhone 5c ($549.99) and iPhone 5s ($649.99). With the exception of the iPhones, most of the phones in the Cricket line-up are being offered with a $50 mail-in rebate.
As part of the reorganzation and relaunch, all Aio Wireless and Cricket stores will fall under the Cricket brand and receive a floor-to-ceiling redesign.
New Cricket Wireless Answers Nationwide Call for Network Quality, Value Prices, Great Service and No Annual Contract
Launches service with reliable 4G LTE network, unlimited plans starting at $35 month after $5 Auto Pay credit, and loyalty program, all with no annual contract
Alpharetta, Ga., May 18, 2014 – – Consumers seeking a better wireless experience with no annual contract have a new choice. Today, the new Cricket Wireless launches wireless service on a reliable, nationwide 4G LTE network covering more than 280 million Americans; with easy and affordable unlimited plans starting at $35 a month after a $5 credit for using Auto Pay; a great line-up of phones; a loyalty rewards program; and a fresh, friendly experience in stores and online.
"We kept the Cricket brand name, but one thing is certain, we are stepping up our game. We are giving no-contract consumers the value they have been waiting for," said Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of Cricket Wireless. "Now new Cricket customers can enjoy great prices, popular phones, loyalty rewards, and friendly service on a reliable nationwide 4G LTE network. The new Cricket has more 4G LTE coverage than Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS, period."
The reinvented wireless experience emerges as a winning combination of Cricket Wireless and Aio Wireless just two months after AT&T (NYSE:T) closed its acquisition of Leap Wireless International, which had operated the Cricket brand. Aio, AT&T's wholly owned subsidiary and no-annual-contract brand, will now be known as Cricket Wireless.
The New Cricket Nationwide Network
The new Cricket has a reliable nationwide network covering more than 97% of Americans and one that offers the ability to talk on the phone and surf the web at the same time. In addition, the new Cricket provides value-conscious consumers access to outstanding 4G LTE coverage. In fact, the new Cricket offers more 4G LTE coverage than Sprint, T-Mobile, and MetroPCS, reaching more than 280 million Americans.
Simple, Affordable Service Plans & Features
Cricket understands that no one likes complicated bills; that's why all of the new Cricket plans include taxes and fees with no U.S. roaming charges. Cricket customers can choose from three simple, unlimited talk, text and data plans at industry leading prices. Service plans and extra features that give customers more value include:
- Rate plans as low as $35, $45 and $55 a month after a $5 credit for using Auto Pay
- Savings of up to $90 a month for multiple-line accounts
- 4 lines for as little as $100 a month with a multi-line account
- Unlimited talk and text plan starting at $25 a month
- International calling plans starting at $15 a month
- Plans that include unlimited international texting
Phones, Promotion, and Rewards
From iconic phones that consumers wait in line for, to those that won't break the bank, Cricket offers a great lineup of new and popular phones from Samsung, Nokia, ZTE, Motorola and more. For a limited time, new Cricket customers can receive $50 off most smartphones after a mail-in-rebate Cricket Visa® Promotion Card. For customers selecting a $49.99 smartphone, the mail-in rebate means they can get a free phone after the mail-in rebate to experience the benefits of the new Cricket.
To thank customers on Smart and Pro service plans for their loyalty, after 12 months of on-time payments Cricket provides customers with a $50 credit every year toward any new phone purchase.
Nearly 3,000 newly redesigned and rebranded Cricket Wireless retail stores are open and ready to greet customers in their neighborhoods—with more on the way. From the bright and inviting look to the easy shopping experience, the new Cricket stores were designed with today's wireless customer in mind.
"We invite anyone looking for reliability, simplicity, and more value in no-annual-contract wireless to sign up today," added Van Buskirk. "Come visit our new stores or www.cricketwireless.com to find out why Cricket is something to smile about."
About the new Cricket Wireless
Cricket is bringing consumers more value with a simple, friendly, and reliable nationwide wireless experience with no annual contract. The power of Cricket is our fast, reliable, nationwide 4G LTE network; easy and affordable unlimited plans with taxes and fees included; annual loyalty rewards; and a great selection of phones customers love. Cricket, Something to Smile About. Cricket is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.