In a time when wireless communication has grown to become an essential part of our day to day activities, a thousand and one telecommunication networks have sprung up to cash in on a business that has the potential of being just as profitable as anything out there. One of such networks is Cricket Wireless, a prepaid wireless service provider owned by AT&T Inc. which offers its customers mobile voice, text, and data services through its parent company’s nationwide network.
Cricket Wireless was founded in 1999 by Leap Wireless International, Inc., a telecommunications operator that spun off multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, Qualcomm Incorporated, in 1999. The company, which aimed to provide affordable wireless services to its customers without having to tie them to long-term contracts or hold them down to credit checks, began operation in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Cricket soon later began setting up shops in other small towns across the United States as it started to gain a reputation for being a small, rural markets network. By 2007, Cricket had grown to become a potent force in the telecommunications industry as it attracted interest from its competitors who wanted to acquire or merge with the company. One of such companies was the prepaid wireless carrier, Metro PCS, who had launched a $5.3 billion bid to merge with Cricket’s parent company to become a single wireless company. Many industry experts believed the merger would take place due to Leap’s supposed financial situation, however, the company informally rejected the bid and less than two months after it was initially made, Metro PCS officially withdrew.
Despite Leap’s supposed financial troubles, Cricket was doing fine as it went ahead to launch a wireless broadband service and also acquire the wireless telecommunications business of South Carolina-based Hargray Communications Group, that same year. The following year, after having launched in Oklahoma City, Cricket Wireless on its own entered into a 10-year roaming agreement with Metro PCS which would cover both companies’ existing and future markets. The two competitors also agreed to a spectrum exchange covering licenses in certain markets.
A month after going into the Metro PCS roaming agreement, Cricket further signed roaming partnerships with 14 wireless companies, it began to expand to bigger cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, among others in 2009. In 2010, Cricket Wireless delved into the GPS navigation market by launching its very own application called Cricket Navigator which provided audible turn-by-turn navigation, maps, and hyper-local search. That same year, Cricket Wireless, through its parent company, entered into a five-year deal with telecommunications giant Sprint which would allow Cricket utilize Sprint’s nationwide 3G network.
In the following years, Cricket was first used as the launch operator for the low-cost touch phone, Kyocera Rio, before it later became compatible with the iPhone 4 and 4S devices. In late 2012, electronic retailer RadioShack entered into a partnership with Leap to launch a service powered by Cricket which was known as RadioShack No Contract Wireless. A year later, Leap Wireless was eventually acquired by AT&T Inc. for $1.2 billion. The acquisition prompted Cricket to switch from CDMA to GSM technology as it now began to operate on AT&T’s nationwide network. Cricket Wireless was then subsequently merged with Aio Wireless which was also owned by AT&T. All dealer stores for Aio were officially converted to Cricket as the Aio Wireless brand ceased to exist. By 2015, Cricket terminated its CDMA service and shut down all its remaining CDMA devices.
Cricket Wireless has a variety of budget-friendly plans that all include unlimited talk and text as well as data access. All its plans have been designed to appeal to each of their customers as it allows provision for people who use light, medium, or heavy data. As mentioned above, these plans do not require its customers to enter into any form of contract and monthly taxes are included into the amount stated with room for overage charges. Furthermore, Cricket allows its customers to share their accounts with friends or family members.
Plan: $30 2GB
Target Customer: Extra Light Data User
Inclusions: Unlimited Talk & Text, 2 GB High-Speed Data Access
Plan: $40 5GB
Target Customer: Light Data User
Inclusions: Unlimited Talk & Text, 5 GB High-Speed Data Access
Plan: $55 Unlimited
Target Customer: Heavy Data User
Inclusions: Unlimited Talk & Text, No Limit Data (3Mbps speed until 22GB of data is consumed then speed may be slowed during periods of network congestion for the rest of the month).
Plan: $60 Unlimited Max
Target Customer: Extremely Heavy Data User
Inclusions: Unlimited Talk & Text, No Limit Data (High speed until 22GB of data is consumed then speed may be slowed during periods of network congestion for the rest of the month)
Customer Service, Locations
To contact Cricket Wireless for issues regarding orders, activations, account management, plans, apps, devices and much more, call its customer support line on 1-800-CRICKET (274-2538) or 611 from your Cricket phone anytime between 7 am to Midnight ET from Monday to Saturday, or 10 am to 10 pm ET on Sunday. You can also get some assistance online by visiting the Cricket Wireless website and going to their Contact Us page.
To find the nearest Cricket Wireless shop near you, visit the Store Locator
Cricket Wireless offers its customers a chance to operate an account through which they can manage their Cricket service online or via the myCricket app. To create an account, visit the Cricket website and click the “My Account” button. Here, you will be required to provide your Cricket phone number and then a username to set it up.
To manage your account, visit the Account management section of the Cricket website support page to get further assistance.
Customers who choose to bring their own device can use the Cricket service, however, they will be required to put in APN settings after which they must have verified that the device is unlocked and compatible with the Cricket network. Below, are instructions on how to configure APN settings for Android, iPhone, or Windows devices.
1. Activate Cricket Wireless SIM card,
2. Enter the messaging folder to reveal internet service and MMS service settings then tap on each configuration message to see setting details and then install.
1. Go to Settings, then Mobile Networks, and then Access Point Names.
2. Tap on Internet to edit the current Access Point settings as listed below
MMS Proxy: proxy.aiowireless.net
Multimedia Message Port: 80
APN type: default,mms,fota,hipri,supl
APN protocol: IPv4
APN roaming protocol: IPv4
Turn APN on/off: ON
1. Enter Applications, then Settings, then Cellular + SIM, and then SIM Settings
2. Tap Add Internet APN to put “ndo” as APN
3. Go back one step and tap Add MMS APN and add the Access Point settings as listed below
WAP Gateway: proxy.aiowireless.net
WAP Gateway Port: 80
MMSC (URL): http://mmsc.aiowireless.net
MMSC Port: 80
Maximum MMS Size: 10240