Cricket Wireless Adds More Data to Phone Plans

Cricket ups the ante as competitors T-Mobile and Sprint recently increased their data packages for mobile customers.

mobile data

Cricket Wireless is giving existing and new customers more data use without increasing their prices under three of the company's most popular service plans.

The company rolled out the new limited-time promotion in an announcement on Sept. 10, doubling data availability for customers of Basic Plans and Pro Plans, while providing an incremental data increase for Smart Plan customers.

Under the monthly $40 Basic Plan, users will now get 1GB of data, up from 500MB, while monthly $60 Pro Plan users will get 10GB of data, up from 5GB, according to the company. Monthly $50 Smart Plan customers will now get 3GB of data, up from 2.5GB of data. All customers can lower their rates through a $5 automatic payment option as well. The plan prices include all taxes and related fees.

The changes will be made automatically for existing customers during the next billing cycle, according to the company. The new data offer begins on Sept. 13.

"Cricket is offering more value to consumers nationwide," said Janna Ducich, Cricket's chief marketing officer, in a statement. "Customers are making the switch to Cricket for our reliable nationwide 4G LTE network, affordable prices with taxes and fees included, and rewards for their loyalty. And now we are offering even more reason to switch, with unlimited plans featuring increased high-speed data allowances with no annual contract."

The company also offers a Cricket Rewards program that gives customers who stay with Cricket for a year a $50 device credit that can be used to get a $49.99 smartphone for free, according to the company.

Cricket is a subsidiary of AT&T, which completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of Leap Wireless, which operates Cricket, in March 2014, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

The Cricket data package increases come on the heels of similar offerings from major competitors Sprint and T-Mobile, which were launched in August.

Sprint bolstered its data offerings to customers through its new Sprint Family Share pack plans, which promise twice as much shared data as competitors' plans for the same prices. The offer, for example, includes four lines with 20GB of shared data for $160 per month, which is what competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless offer for 10GB of shared data, according to the company.

Sweetening the deal, Sprint is also offering customers who take the company up on the new Share Pack plans special lower pricing through 2015 at $100 per month for up to 10 phone lines with 20GB of shared data and unlimited talk and text, according to the company. In an added bonus, customers who participate in this offer will also receive an extra 2GB of data free per month per line through 2015, which doubles the amount of free data during the promotional period. For a family of four, that means they'd pay $100 per month for 20GB of shared data plus 8GB of extra free data, for a total of 28GB per month through 2015. A family of 10 users would pay $100 per month and receive 20GB of shared data plus another 20GB of free extra data through 2015.

Earlier in August, Sprint ended its long-rumored attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA and simultaneously replaced its CEO, Dan Hesse, with Marcelo Claure.

In January, Sprint launched its shared Framily plans for up to 10 friends or family members, with competitive prices and individual billings, which have been the theme of frequent media ads. The existing Framily plans will continue to be offered alongside the new Family Share Pack plans.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, bumped up its data offerings to Simple Start plan customers by giving them an option to quadruple their normal 500MB data use to 2GB a month for only $5. The plans already include unlimited talk and text. T-Mobile launched the Simple Starter cellular phone plans in April.

The new 2GB data offer is a limited-time promotion, according to the company, and it follows another limited-time data promotion also unveiled in August, when T-Mobile offered free unlimited mobile data for one year to any Simple Choice customer who gets a friend or relative to move his or her service from Sprint, AT&T or Verizon Wireless.