Not to be outdone by big guns like Sprint and T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, a postpaid subbrand of AT&T, introduced revamped offerings on Thursday targeting the lower-end, more affordable range of the cellular market. Beginning later this month, new Cricket customers will have the option of upgrading to unlimited texts and calls, and a 1GB bucket of high-speed data for a flat monthly rate.
Cricket’s new plan may not be quite as generous as, say, T-Mobile’s One or Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom, but it’s not nearly as expensive. The carrier’s new entry-level tier starts at $30 a month — Cricket’s most affordable plan yet — and ramps up from there. The next step up, Cricket’s Basic plan, is $40 a month ($35 a month if you enroll in Cricket’s automatic bill pay) for a 2.5GB of data. Cross the data limit threshold on either plan and you’ll see speeds throttled to 128Kbps.
The carrier’s plan compares relatively favorably to the competition. T-Mobile offers a $30 a month prepaid option through T-Mobile.com and Walmart that includes unlimited texting and up to 5GB of high-speed 4G LTE data, but only 100 minutes of calling. H2O Wireless and Lycamobile, meanwhile, have $30 plans that net you unlimited talk and text, but limit data transfer to 500MB.
Other carriers come closer, though. Ultra Mobile’s cheapest plan includes unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of 4G LTE for $29, plus unlimited international texting and calling to 71 countries. Republic Wireless has a $25 a month plan that also includes unlimited talk and text, and a capped 1GB of data, as well as a free benefit that nets a refund at the end of each billing period for unused data. FreedomPop’s comparable plan comes in even lower at $20 a month plan for unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of 4G LTE data.
Cricket’s new offering has other benefits in tow. New customers are eligible for a free handset of their choosing: the Alcatel STREAK, ZTE Sonata 3, or Kyocera Hydro View. And the carrier has teamed up with Alcatel to launch a virtual reality bundle, the Idol 4 with VR Experience Pack, for $100 — or half off the retail price of $200 — for customers who port their existing phone number to Cricket.
Cricket’s new plan goes live on Friday.