Cricket offers $50 in cash credit to customers who switch carriers

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If you’re in the market for a cheap, no-frills wireless plan, good news: Cricket Wireless is offering cash credit for customers who port their number to the carrier. And it’s throwing in a free smartphone to boot.

Starting Friday, May 26, Cricket will give subscribers who bring their lines from another carrier up to $50 in “switcher credit” — more than enough to cover the carrier’s $25 activation fee and $10 universal SIM card. Customers have the option to bring their own device, or choose from one of Cricket’s four free 4G LTE phones. And if they bring a family plan over, they can get up to $50 in credit plus a Group Save discount.

Cricket’s not neglecting existing Cricket customers, either. Subscribers who refer a friend get a $25 credit when that friend accepts a referral via the Crickets Rewards app, activates service, and maintains it for 60 consecutive days.

There’s some fine print to note. The promotion applies to new lines only, and AT&T customers aren’t eligible. It’s a smartphone-only affair — basic phones are excluded — and accounts must be active and in good standing for at least 45 days. Credit comes in the form of savings on your monthly bill — you can’t withdraw it like cash, and it’s not refundable or transferable — and there’s a limit to one per qualifying line.

But it’s not all bad.

Last year, Cricket introduced a $70 per month unlimited data plan that includes talk and text. And on the low end of the pricing spectrum, it debuted a $30 per month plan with calling, texting, and 1GB of data.

In January, meanwhile, Cricket rolled out high-speed data subscriptions starting at $40 per month and $60 per month for 3GB and 12GB, respectively. Plans are throttled at 8Mbps for 4G LTE and 4Mbps for HSPA+, but come with unlimited texting and calling, and benefits like high-definition phone calls on supported phones (like the Alcatel Idol 4, LG Escape 3, Samsung Galaxy Sol 2, or ZTE Grand X 4).

Cricket’s plans compare favorably to the competition. T-Mobile offers a $30 per month prepaid option through 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.

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) like Cricket, which obtain cell service from larger networks and carriers, are on the upswing. Analysts at Transparency Market Research report that the global MVNO market will reach a value of $75.25 billion by 2023.