Cricket’s New Unlimited Extra Plan – Unthrottled But Always Managed Data

Cricket Wireless, a prepaid subsidiary owned by AT&T, has made an adjustment to it's top-tier unlimited data plan - removing the previous 8 Mbps speed throttle, but now always subject to network management.

Unlike it's slightly lower priced Unlimited plan, which remains throttled to 3 Mbps speeds but only subject to network management after 22GB of usage.

This switch makes Cricket more comparable with AT&T's own post-paid plans and might be good for someone looking to bridge the feature gap between AT&T post-paid and prepaid options, but it does come with some downsides.



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Details, Pricing, and Limitations

Cricket's offerings can be quite confusing, as the specific policies vary considerably by the plan.  The "Unlimited Extra" option includes the following policies and features:

  • First line: $55/month (with autopay discount)
  • Each additional Line: $30/month (no autopay discount for extra lines), up to 5 lines total.
  • Network Management: All data subject to network management
  • Mobile Hotspot: Available as a $10 add-on for 10GB at high speed, then unlimited 2G speeds (128kbps). Hotspot data also always subject to network management.
  • Streaming: Video is capped at 1.5Mbps, good enough for SD (480p) streaming.
  • International Use: Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada & Mexico. Canada usage cannot exceed 50% of the total usage for the month.

Analysis

Since mobile hotspot use is an added feature, the total cost for nomads looking for that feature will be $65/month for one line.  The Unlimited Extra feature set fills a gap between Cricket's preexisting Unlimited option and AT&T's base Unlimited &More post-paid plan.

Cricket's new plan is only $5/month cheaper than AT&T's postpaid Unlimited &More plan - but here's how the plans differ:

  • Cricket Unlimited Extra has 10GB of mobile hotspot (with the $10/month addon) - AT&T's Unlimited &More has no mobile hotspot use.
  • Data on the Cricket plan is always subject to network management, while on the AT&T it is not subject to network management until 22GB of data use.
  • The AT&T plan comes with bundled benefits including Watch TV and a DirecTV discount, Cricket comes with none of those bonuses.
  • Both plans throttle video to SD resolution.

So this plan fills a missing niche in the AT&T/Cricket lineup by providing a more value-oriented unthrottled high-speed option with mobile hotspot but no other frills.

For the nomad community, this could be a decent secondary / backup data option.

 

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