As you look at the different cellular service providers that are on the market these days, you should consider carefully before you sign up with any of them. Ask yourself these questions: is the price you’re paying most important to you? Are you looking at what perks you can get with the providers you are considering? Maybe you’re thinking about how many retail outlets each one has, or how wide of an area they cover. Today, we’ll be looking at two popular options, Cricket and Sprint. In the end, you should able to get a better understanding of which one is superior and which will work better for your needs.
Let’s look at some of the bullet points from the article that you should consider.
- You can assure yourself of getting an affordable rate with Cricket if you sign up for multiple lines with their Group Save program
- They have about 5,000 retail stores around the country, which isn’t as many as some of the more prominent national brands
- Recently, they have been heavily promoting a deal where you can get four lines of unlimited data for a total of $100
- They are owned by AT&T, which has the third-best coverage area in the country at 58%, behind Verizon at number one and T-Mobile at number two
- Their prices are among the cheapest of the nationally-recognized brands, particularly if you get their limited data options
- Their coverage network is fourth-best in the nation at 27%, which doesn’t come close to matching up with the three others that are ahead of them
- They are a preferred brand for high school students, college students, and older adults who don’t have as much money to spend on a monthly bill
- They do offer some useful perks, such as hotspot data with their unlimited data plans; you can also get Tidal streaming music, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in some cases
Cricket’s full name is Cricket Wireless LLC, and AT&T owns them. They have financial backing through AT&T, so they run a lot of commercials on prime-time programs. The brand was founded in Chicago in 1999. Their current headquarters is in Atlanta, GA, and they have 5,000 retail stores across the country.
In 2014, AT&T purchased Leap Wireless International, Cricket’s parent company. They had 4.5 million subscribers when the deal took place. The acquisition cost AT&T $1.2 billion. Cricket is perhaps known as more of a regional service than some of the other major cellular providers, like Verizon or T-Mobile. While they have a strong presence in some parts of the country, in others, they don’t market themselves nearly as much.
Sprint began its life as the Brown Telephone Company in 1899. Since then, the company has seen several name changes and restructuring efforts. Officially known as the Sprint Corporation, it is traded as S on the NYSE. Last year, it brought in revenue in excess of $33 billion. Their CEO is Michel Combs, and their headquarters is in Overland Park, KS.
Sprint has some subsidiaries, the names of which you will probably know. Boost Mobile is one of theirs, and they own Virgin Mobile as well. They are known within the telecommunications field, but they might not have quite the market presence of Verizon or AT&T.
Does Cricket or Sprint Have the Better Coverage Network?
There aren’t many factors as vital when you’re looking at cellular networks as their coverage area. Poor coverage area, if you live in some parts of the country, means that some companies shouldn’t even get serious consideration from you. AT&T owns Cricket, and AT&T has the third-best network in the nation, behind Verizon at number one and T-Mobile at number two. AT&T’s coverage area is 58% of the continental United States.
Sprint, meanwhile, is in fourth place, but it’s a distant fourth behind Cricket and AT&T. They only cover 27% of the nation, and rural areas are particularly problematic. There are some people who are attracted to Sprint because of their cheap plan rates, but then they become frustrated and go with another company because of the spotty coverage.
This is certainly something that you should consider as you do a side-by-side comparison of these providers.
Which One Has Better Plans?
Next, you should look at the prices for plans with both of these companies, and what comes with each of them. Cricket has a $30 per month plan, which comes with unlimited nationwide texting and talking capabilities. You only get 1GB of 4G LTE data with that one. After you use it up, any further data comes to you at a much slower 128kbps.
Cricket has an unlimited GB plan that will cost you $60, but you can purchase that same plan for $55 if you sign up with their autopay program. You can add a second line for ten dollars less, and the third line for ten dollars less than that.
They also have a much-publicized plan where you get four lines of unlimited data for $100 per month. If you have some family members or friends who are looking for a cellular service provider, this is certainly something that’s worth your while to consider.
Sprint has four plans that are offered to most of the US market. They are called Kickstart, Basic, Plus, and Premium. The cost is $35 per month, $60 per month, $70 per month, and $80 per month. The last three come with unlimited data. If you get Unlimited Basic, that comes with 500 MB LTE mobile hotspot data. Unlimited Plus comes with 50 GB of mobile hotspot data, while Premium gets you 100 GB. If you’re someone that needs hotspot data a lot, this might be an appealing feature.
What About Perks from These Providers?
Perks are another focus area for many consumers shopping for that ideal cellular provider. With Cricket, you can get international texting and roaming in Canada and Mexico if you sign up for one of their unlimited plans. The Group Save discounts if you sign up with a few other individuals are also handy for those who are on a budget.
There’s no denying, though, that you get more with Sprint, particularly if you purchase one of their unlimited plans. If you get Unlimited Basic, that comes with the hotspot data we already mentioned, but it also comes with Hulu. You get their full library of shows and movies, and you can stream them in 480p, which is considered to be DVD-quality. If you get Unlimited Plus, that comes with both Hulu and Tidal, which is Sprint’s streaming music service. If you purchase Unlimited Premium, you get Hulu, Tidal, and an Amazon Prime membership. That’s useful for the quick delivery of Amazon’s products, and you can also watch their original programming and an extensive library of shows and movies.
Sprint also has unlimited texting and data in many countries. If you are someone who travels a lot, that may get your attention. They also have a service called Lookout, which is their mobile security provider. You can set it to get notifications if there is any suspicious activity with your bank accounts or anything of that nature.
Are there Any Limitations About Which You Should Know?
The real limitation with Sprint is the coverage area problem that we already mentioned. If your home is a major city, then it probably won’t be an issue for you, but once you get to more rural counties, it could prove irritating.
There are also some devices that either one or the other of these companies won’t let you use on their networks. This is more likely if what you have is an off-brand or lesser-known phone or tablet. If you have something along those lines, it is best for you to check in with a customer service representative on either Cricket or Sprint’s websites. You could go to one of their retail outlets also. Ask them if the particular make and model of the device you have is acceptable to them.
Which Devices Can You Use on Their Networks?
There are many devices that both Cricket and Sprint will allow you to use if you sign up with them. You can bring your own in many cases, or they would be happy to sell you a new phone or lease one to you. Cricket has many Samsung models, iPhone’s, and LGs from which you can choose.
Sprint offers the iPhone 11 Pro Max for $45.84 per month, or they have the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ for $25.00 per month with no money down. They also have budget-friendly deals like the pre-owned iPhone 8 Plus for $349.99 or $14.59 per month. If you don’t feel like you need the latest model with all the bells and whistles, it’s worth your while to think about an older option.
If you buy a phone from either of these companies, it is best to try and put at least some money down upfront. That will save you money off of your monthly bill, which can get pricey quickly if you opt for a top-of-the-line device. It’s the same principle as when you’re buying a car.
How is Their Customer Service?
Both of these companies have a help number that you can call if you want to sign up for a new plan or if you need help with your existing one. You can also reach out to them on their websites via Live Chat. If that is more to your liking.
If you want to go to a brick-and-mortar location and speak to someone instead, then Cricket has 5,000 retail locations in the United States. Sprint has upwards of 4,500 stores, so in this area, neither company could be said to have a distinct advantage.
Which Service Provider is Better for You?
When it comes time to make the decision between Cricket and Sprint, it’s probably going to come down to what you prioritize most. Cricket, since they are owned by AT&T, has a better coverage area. It’s not close, either, with 58% of the country covered versus a paltry 27% with Sprint. Sprint touts their low prices. If you put the plans from these companies up against each other, though, you will see that there is little difference in price between their unlimited data plans, or their limited ones, for that matter.
Neither one has a great deal more physical locations than the other if that matters to you. Sprint seems to have better perks, with Tidal streaming music, Hulu and their various movies and shows, and the Amazon Prime membership that comes with Premium. If you’re willing to spend more with Sprint, those perks are at least enough for you to give them some careful consideration.
What may be the deciding factor for you is where you live. If you reside in a rural area, then Sprint’s perks probably aren’t going to be enough to win you over because of their less-than-great coverage. If you live in a major city or near to one, and you seldom go to rural areas, then you might not care so much about their network coverage.
Since the cost of plans for both of these providers is more-or-less equal, when you might decide to overlook the lack of perks and go with Cricket is when you live in a more remote locale. Their coverage is better, and their prices are probably still a little lower than some of the other nationally-recognized brands.
You’ll have to think about what makes the most sense for you based on your location and financial situation. Neither one of these is a poor decision; it’s more a matter of your individual preference.