Cricket Wireless has launched its latest smartphone model, the ZTE Blade X Max, featuring a 6-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) full HD display, a 3,400mAh battery and a 13-megapixel main rear camera—as well as sale pricing on nine other phone models for new customers who move their phone numbers to Cricket.
The prepaid, no-contract cellular phone company has also boosted its $40 monthly service plan ($35 per month using an auto-payment option) to 4GB of high-speed data, up from 2.5GB of data previously. Existing customers of the $40 monthly plan will automatically be switched to receive the extra data. Data over the limit is provided at reduced speeds of 128K bps.
The new ZTE Blade X Max handset is priced at $100 online or in stores for customers who bring their numbers to Cricket, or $150 for existing customers who want to upgrade or for new customers who have no phone number to bring with them.
The Blade X Max, which is 6.5 inches long, 3.27 inches wide and 0.37 inches thick and weighs 6.93 ounces, features a 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm MSM8940 Snapdragon processor, 2GB of memory, 32GB of built-in storage and a microSD slot for expandable storage cards up to 128GB. Plus, the non-removable battery has quick-charging capabilities. In addition, the Blade X Max runs on the Android Nougat 7.1.1 operating system and includes Dolby Audio and FM radio support, allowing it to stream or play a wide variety of content, from audio to video. It also can support optional DirecTV Now service.
The 13MP rear-facing camera is capable of taking panoramic photos in both landscape and portrait mode and includes a camera screen flash function to produce clearer and brighter pictures. The handset, which allows users to capture 1080p video using the main camera, also includes a 5MP front-facing camera.
The Blade X Max also includes a rear fingerprint sensor for security, along with the ability to save up to five fingerprints to access different applications instantly using one touch.
Sale Pricing on Other Phone Models
Cricket is also now offering special pricing on nine other phone models for new customers who bring their old cellphone numbers over to Cricket. Four of the phone models are being offered for free, while the other five models are being offered at discounts.
The free phones are the Alcatel Streak, the ZTE Sonata 3, the Samsung Amp 2 and the LG Fortune. Upgrading Cricket customers and new Cricket customers with no phone numbers to port can also purchase the handsets, with the Alcatel Streak available for $20, the ZTE Sonata 3 available for $30, the Samsung Amp 3 available for $40 and the LG Fortune available for $50.
New Cricket customers who are bringing over their cellphone numbers can also choose from an LG Escape 3 handset for $20, a Samsung Amp Prime phone for $30, an LG Power X Power phone for $50, an LG Stylo 2 phone for $80 or an Alcatel IDOL4 handset for $130. New customers who have no phone number to bring over and existing Cricket customers who want to upgrade can purchase those models for $60, $80, $90, $130 or $180, respectively.
In October 2016, Cricket Wireless bumped its $50 monthly no-contract, prepaid calling plans to 8GB of high-speed data, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The calling plans, which are the company's most popular plans, previously included 5GB of high-speed data. Cricket's plans also include unlimited talk and texting, as well as all taxes and fees. Customers who sign up for automatic monthly payments for their prepaid accounts also get another $5 off their monthly charge, bringing the cost of the plan to $45 a month.
Cricket—which is a subsidiary of AT&T and operates over the AT&T network—added a $70-a-month unlimited mobile plan in April 2016 for customers who required more data than their existing monthly no-contract, prepaid calling plans offered. The plan is $65 a month with the automatic payment option.
Cricket's other prepaid phone plans include a $30 monthly plan with 1GB of high-speed data and no automatic payment discount or a $60 plan with 10GB of data, which costs $55 with the automatic payment option. Data use over the monthly limits on all plans slows data speeds to a maximum of 128K bps for the rest of the monthly plan cycle.