Cricket Mobile - No Contract Cellular

Who is Cricket?

Cricket Cellular was founded in 1999 as a subsidiary of Leep Wireless. Leep provides the infrastructure and sells phones and service through Cricket.

The first service area for Cricket was Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Cricket is the seventh (7th) largest cellular provider after Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, MetroPCS, and U.S. Cellular. Cricket claims to service 95% of the country (the United States) by contracting cellular service through Sprint and Metro PCS.

Cricket Logo
Cricket Logo | Source

No Contract? Not Really!

Like all other "no contract" providers, Cricket requires you to pay for a phone, pay for service, and pay for a setup fee. You are billed monthly, and must cancel your service to stop billing. So it really is a contract, just not a two year long contract.

A consumer can get a phone and service through Cricket by placing a toll-free call or by visiting the web-site.

As with all other "no contract" providers, no credit check is required and the commitment can (supposedly) be cancelled with a simple phone call.

Web Access
Right off the bat, the author has a problem with the web-site. He is being forced to enter a zip code before looking at services or phones. The site is set up in such a way that the zip code must be entered before anything else can be viewed. This effectively guides the potential consumer through a purchase before allowing that person to see what is offered.

Worse, when the zip code is entered the author is informed that service is not provided in that area, yet the coverage map clearly shows that the zip code entered is in the service area.

Very frustrating.

A Google search got the writer where he wanted to be, but he was not impressed at all with the enforced order process.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cricket MSGM8 IICricket TXTM8 3G
Cricket MSGM8 II
Cricket MSGM8 II | Source
Cricket TXTM8 3G
Cricket TXTM8 3G | Source

The Phones

Cricket offers a bewildering array of phones made by Blackberry, Sanyo, Samsung, Koacera, and their own brand most certainly made by someone else.

The Cricket MSGM8 II has got to be one of the ugliest phones ever conceived while the Cricket TXTM8 looks nearly identical to the Blackberry Curve.

Cricket also offers candybar, slab, and flip formfactor phones. Because the Cricket web-site has laid out the phone by feature (camera phone, music player phone, bluetooth phone, qwerty keyboard phone, etc., etc., etc.), it is very difficult to determine just how many phones they carry and who makes them.

The author wishes the consumer the best of luck finding the ideal phone with Cricket's online order form, the consumer will need it.

Cricket offers Blackberry Curve as well as an Android phone which makes Cricket one of the very few "no contract" companies to offer both. To date Metro PCS is the only other "no contract" provider to offer both.

The Plans

Cricket seems to offer four plans. They are Basic at $35.00 a month, Best Seller at $45.00 a month, Android at $55.00 a month, and Blackberry at $55.00 a month. Cricket does not guarantee that these prices are good nationwide, the consumer must enter a zip code to find this out. If the reader read the paragraphs above, they now know this may be problematic.

Since the author's clearly covered zip code will not be accepted it is difficult for the writer of this article to determine just exactly what this means.

All plans (presumably) provide unlimited talk, text, long distance, voicemail, and caller ID.

All plans after Basic also (allegedly) also provide "unlimited" picture, video messaging, call waiting, three way calling, 411, mobile web, call forwarding, data backup, international texting, and navigation.

This tells the author that Basic either charges for or does not provide 411, call forwarding, navigation, or web access.

The author cannot determine which due to the( hair pulling and gnashing of teeth) excruciatingly painful process of trying to navigate the site.

The Android plan also includes html web-browsing (the author wonders how that is different than mobile web [above]), mobile mail and Google Mobile (which is mail, maps, calender, and news).

The Blackbery plan includes html web-browsing (see parenthetical text above), Blackberry mail and Blackberry messenger.

Accessories

As with all other "no contract" providers, Cricket sells, batteries, headsets, cases, chargers, memory cards, and earbuds at a substantial mark-up.

Because there are so many phones there are even more accessories to choose from.

Cricket really needs to re-think the design of the web-site. Seriously!

Why the Author Wrote this Article

Because of providers like GreatCall and Consumer Cellular (two which seem to target seniors), the author has continued his investigations into other companies.

Cricket, thankfully, does not target one particular demographic, and their plans seem to be more than reasonable. Getting to where you can order anything online is a whole other matter though. Is it worth it? Maybe.

The author has met his frustration limit on this one though.

Coda

As "no contract" providers go the prices for the plans seem reasonable. Links for the phones however force you to provide a zip code which Cricket refuses to accept, so the author has no idea how much they want for their phones.

Blogsphere Complaints
Like any cellular provider Cricket has it's share of complaints.

Oddly, most of them have to do with reassigned phone numbers e.g. customer's numbers are given to new members and the orignal customer is bombarded by shocked and bewildered new members who can't understand how some stranger has their daughter's, son's, husband's new number.

It was chillingly funny for the author to read an incident where a woman wrote to complain that she was getting threatening calls from the wife of a man who now had her old (still in use) phone number.

Naturally, this led to a lot of confusion and frustration. The author wonders if any divorces resulted as well.

Maybe the same people who designed their web-site designed the billing and assignment system.

The next most common complaint was lousy customer service. What a surprise!

Service Map
The author found the service map almost completely useless since areas allegedly covered were not, in fact, covered.

Verdict
Skip this one for the sake of your sanity. Nothing should be this hard to use; nothing!

Disclaimer

The author was not compensated in any way, either monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.

More by this Author


Comments 2 comments

LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

Thanks Mark. I think I've just hit the top of the iceburg so to speak. That was the most frustrating three hours of my time I've ever spent trying to research a provider.


Mark Knowles profile image

Mark Knowles 5 years ago

Good grief! I hate these guys. Having said that - try the French providers. I opted for a pay as you go phone because the charges and contracts are so complex - and even the PAYG options have time limits within which you MUST use the credit or lose it. Horrible business.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working