Cricket Wireless is a prepaid wireless service provider in the United States. Cricket Wireless offers voice, text, and data and is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T Inc. As of 2011, it provided prepaid wireless services to approximately 5 million subscribers in the United States. Cricket Wireless was founded in 1999 by Leap Wireless International, Inc. On July 12, 2013, AT&T Inc. agreed to acquire Cricket's parent company Leap Wireless International for $1.2 billion. The merger was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on March 13, 2014, and later that same day, Leap Wireless announced the completion of its acquisition by AT&T.
Leap Wireless launched Cricket Wireless's first market in Chicago, Illinois on March 17, 1999.
On September 4, 2007, competing carrier MetroPCS announced a $5.3 billion bid to merge with Leap Wireless. Leap informally rejected the bid less than two weeks later. MetroPCS officially withdrew the bid less than two months later, on November 1, 2007.
On September 17, 2007, Cricket launched Wireless Broadband Service using EV-DO.
On December 12, 2007, Cricket agreed to acquire Hargray Communications Group's wireless telecommunications business.
On April 8, 2008, Cricket launched in Oklahoma City.
On September 29, 2008, Cricket announced that they had entered into a 10-year roaming agreement with MetroPCS covering both companies' existing and future markets. The companies also entered into a spectrum exchange agreement covering licenses in certain markets and on November 13, 2008, Cricket launched "Premium Extended Coverage", a roaming partnership with 14 wireless companies. On February 2009, Cricket launched in Chicago.
On March 10, 2009, Cricket launched in the Philadelphia market, including eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware.
On June 23, 2009, Cricket launched in the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets.
On September 28, 2009, Cricket changed its domain name to "mycricket.com".
On April 13, 2010, Cricket launched Cricket Navigator, a GPS application that offers audible turn-by-turn navigation, hyper-local search and maps.
On August 2010, Cricket and Sprint signed a five-year wholesale agreement (MVNO) which allows Cricket to utilize Sprint's nationwide 3G EVDO network in the U.S.
On August 12, 2010, Cricket was a launch operator for the Kyocera Rio low cost touch phone.
On May 31, 2012, Cricket announced the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S availability on its network.
On September 5, 2012, Electronic retailer RadioShack in partnership with Leap launched RadioShack No Contract Wireless, the service is powered by Cricket.
On July 12, 2013, AT&T Inc. agreed to buy Cricket Wireless' parent for $1.2 billion and on March 13, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission approved the acquisition between AT&T and Leap Wireless.
On May 18, 2014, Cricket's website (mycricket.com) and Aio Wireless's website (aiowireless.com) were redirected to the new cricketwireless.com site. This signaled the beginning of operations as the new Cricket. GSM operations for Cricket Wireless began this day as well, all Aio Wireless dealer stores were officially converted to the Cricket brand and the Aio Wireless brand was retired.
On September 24, 2015 Cricket Wireless launched their variants of Apple's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones. Cricket Wireless's advantage is their Cricket Protect insurance plan covering users from physical damage, water damage, loss, and theft.
Cricket’s CDMA network previously covered about 96% of Americans using its home network and roaming agreements with Sprint, among other CDMA carriers. However, Cricket’s CDMA network was shut down and the spectrum was refarmed for use on AT&T’s HSPA+ and LTE networks.
Following the acquisition by AT&T, Cricket Wireless released devices that use AT&T’s 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE networks. Cricket Wireless now covers 99% of Americans and often boasts about their new, strong network since its coverage area is larger than that of T-Mobile (including MetroPCS,) and Sprint (including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.) Cricket Wireless users on the "Smart" and "Pro" plans can roam in Mexico and Canada at no additional costs.
Cricket offers a variety of rate plans that include data allowance. Plans start at $30 for 1Gb, $40 for 3GB of full-speed data, $50 for 8GB of full-speed data, $60 for 12 GB of full-speed data, or $70 for unlimited full-speed data. Exceeding high-speed data allotments results in reduced data speed (throttling), up to a maximum of 128 kbit/s with the exception of the $70 plan, which has no limits on high-speed usage. The base monthly price is reduced by $5/mo if Auto Pay is set-up. Cricket's throttling use follows that of its competitors (T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, etc.). The 128kbit/s speeds reflect typical 2G/Edge data speeds. Standard LTE network speeds are 8 Mbit/s while HSPA+ network speeds are 4 Mbit/s. As of October 2015, Cricket also offers unlimited talk, text, and data roaming in Mexico and Canada on plan tiers starting at $50/mo.
Cricket also offers competitively priced family plans, with the following prices:2 lines, $70/month ($10 off)
3 lines, $90/month ($20 off)
4 lines, $100/month ($30 off)
5 lines, $100/month ($40 off)
Cricket Wireless noted on their old website that CDMA service will be terminated as early as September 2015. Most devices prior to the merger will not be compatible on the GSM network except the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s. Compatible iPhone devices will only require a new SIM card, provided free of charge at any Cricket Wireless store or through Customer Service.