More often than not, people over pay on their cell phone bills. Why? Laziness, ease of contracts, or simply not knowing their options, who knows?
Don’t be that friend that always complains about lack of money but never does anything about it. We all have that friend. Do something about it and educate yourself on your options.
I’m here to help you, laying out the facts on the table.
But, there are TONS of options. More than I care to go into in just one post. So, I will make it more simple. Let’s start with AT&T.
So you want to keep your great service with AT&T. Maybe, they are the only provider with excellent connection and service in your area. Maybe, you are a die hard fan of the company. I really don’t care, but don’t pay the big brand name price for their service. Use one of their MVNO providers and keep their service at a lower cost to you than a post paid plan (AKA ‘the after service provided’ plan). Who says ‘no’ to more money in their wallets? People I don’t understand, that’s who.
What is MVNO you ask? MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. Simply put, they pay one of the big four phone providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) to use their towers and networks to operate and then sell their own plans to paying customers. You get to keep your excellent service. OOOOHHHH! Cool, right?
One of the most well known MVNO providers is Cricket. They are technically owned by AT&T, which makes them a sort of exclusion to the MVNO rule, but they still act on their own like an MVNO.
Using an MVNO provider, you prepay for your cell phone plan. This is unlike many providers that charge you at the end of the month. Prepaying your plan means you know exactly what you are being charged before you are provided the service.
Here is a breakdown of Cricket’s wireless plans…
*If you auto pay your bill, you get a $5 discount credit every month off the plan you select. Auto-paying is simple; put in your credit card information after signing up for the service and click the auto pay button. The $5 discount will appear a few days prior to your bill being due.
**Cricket offers unlimited data on all plans, with a certain allotment of high speed data. After you reach your high speed data limit your speeds will be throttled to 2g. You have the option of changing your plan mid cycle to increase your high speed data limit if you would like. There are no overages for going over your data limit.
***All cricket plans are per person but they do offer discounts for multiple line accounts and these can save quite a bit of money. Keep in mind through that auto pay discounts are not eligible on group plans.
Group Savings Discount Amounts Credited to Your Account
For Example: If you have 5 people all on the 3GB plan costing $40 per month per person, the total cost would be 5x$40= $200. But with the group savings discount applied of 5 people added you take the total cost $200 – $10 for adding the second line -$20 for the third line – $30 for the fourth line – $40 for the fifth line = $100. Therefore, 5 people with the 3GB plan only pay $100 per month, or $20 per person per month. Cricket prices include the tax so that amount is the exact amount you pay. (Awesome)
Now, each person on a group doesn’t have to have the same plan. That’s why it’s a savings discount per line added. (Even Better)
If you are a single person, the only discount applied is the auto pay discount of $5 which is still better than nothing.
You can buy your cell phone from Cricket or bring your own device you already own. Most phones are compatible even if they weren’t originally on the AT&T network.
We brought our own phones which were once on a Verizon plan, paid them off, and switched to the Cricket network to save us some moola (money, $$$, cash). I’m telling you, we do practically anything to save our hard earned paychecks.
Just visit their site HERE to check if your phone is compatible.
If you are on the Cricket plan and want to upgrade your phone, it is simple. Buy a new phone from anywhere and swap out the SIM card. There is no need to visit a store to pay ridiculous upgrade/activation fees.
Cricket does allow you to activate your service in one of their stores but this typically will cost you a $25 fee, per device. Instead you can buy the universal sim card activation kit on Amazon for around $10 and activate the device yourself. The process is very simple to port your existing number and activate your service through the automated online system. You can also buy the sim kit at Target, GameStop, or Walmart.
*By buying through this link we are provided a small commission through their affiliate program. We wouldn’t provide this unless we were absolutely happy with this product and think you could benefit from it too.*
Cons Of Cricket
- There are some remote areas where At&t has roaming agreements with local providers. Cricket service will not operate here but chances are you won’t notice this. We never had issues with coverage with Cricket.
- Cricket throttles speeds to 8 Mbps. We had Cricket for a year and never had issues with speed. 8MBps is plenty fast enough to stream music or watch HD YouTube videos.
At&t also offers their own native prepaid phone service, that while more expensive does not throttle data, and you will get the exact same coverage as At&t post paid service. Though, the prices do not include the taxes as Cricket does on their phone plans.
*$30 plan doesn’t include any data, but you can purchase data in 250MB packages for $5.
**Unlike Cricket, auto pay for GoPhone does stack with the multi line discount unlike cricket. You only get one $5 credit per account.
Let’s say a group of 5 each with the 4GB $45 a month plan. Total Cost
5*$45 = $225 – $50(multi line discount) – $5(auto pay discount) = $170+taxes
So $70 more than cricket for the benefit of non-throttled data and slightly better roaming coverage. These prices are also going to be closer to a postpaid AT&T service. Since the multi discounts aren’t nearly as good as Cricket’s, I really only recommend GoPhone for single users or couples. Otherwise it might be better to go with a postpaid AT&T plan.
They also offer a nice calculator HERE.
Lets Compare Cricket with GoPhone with postpaid AT&T coverage with the closest comparable plans.
Details On Unlocking Your Old Device
If you are currently on one of the big four networks you might need to unlock your current phone before switching to cricket or any other MVNO.
Verizon phones are natively unlocked so as long as the phone is completely paid off there is nothing else to do.
AT&T offers an easy online unlock service HERE.
T-Mobile requires you to request an unlock either through their unlock app or by contacting them directly. It looks like the app is only available on Android. So. Iphone uses will have to contact them. Details on unlocking eligibility and how to do it can be found HERE.
Sprint is a little trickier. According to them, their devices with a SIM card manufactured after 2015 should unlock automatically once they are eligible. You can also request an unlock through their online chat feature or calling their customer service line. Eligibly for unlocking sprint devices can be found HERE.
I hope this was an easy to understand comparison of two MVNO opportunities through AT&T to save you money. Explore your options and we will provide more details to other plans in the near future. Spend your money wisely friends!
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment below. Subscribe to our page on the right side to keep up to date on all future posts!