Cricket Wireless is one of the largest and most popular American wireless service providers. It offers a large variety of high-quality cellular phones, great accessories, affordable prepaid plans, reliable services with no annual contracts, and frequent special deals on plans and devices. The provider is known for free next business day shipping, no overage charges for calls, texts, and data, and reliable customer service. As Cricket Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), it doesn’t have its own cellular towers but has an agreement with one of the largest carriers to use their cellular towers and network instead.
In this article, we will reveal what towers does Cricket use, how good is its coverage, if its network is reliable, and much more. Let’s dive into it.
What Network Towers Does Cricket Use?
Cricket Wireless was founded in March 1999 by Leap Wireless International. The company formerly used Sprint’s cellular towers and nationwide CDMA network.
In March 2014, AT&T acquired Leap Wireless International and merged Cricket’s operations with Aio Wireless. In March 2015, Cricket began a gradual shutdown of their CDMA network and transitioned all users to AT&T’s GSM network by September 2015. By that time all customers were required to buy new devices to be able to continue using Cricket’s network and services.
When AT&T shut down their 2G network in 2016, Cricket Wireless followed suit. Users with older and more basic mobile devices were required to upgrade their phones to use Cricket’s newer networks. In August 2020, Cricket launched its 5G nationwide network and in February 2022, the provider is planning to shut down its 3G network, offering only 4G LTE and 5G networks to their customers.
To keep the answer as short as possible, as of 2015, Cricket Wireless uses AT&T’s cellular towers and nationwide network.
How Good Is the Cricket Network Tower?
As Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and runs on their network, the quality of Cricket’s towers and network depends entirely on the quality of AT&T’s towers and network. AT&T, as well as the company’s MVNOs (including Cricket), have one of the best networks in the United States. In terms of coverage, the network is second to Verizon, while the new T-Mobile (T-Mobile and Sprint) is the third.
Cricket Wireless runs on AT&T’s second-best network in the country, however, it has much lower prices. As such, many of AT&T’s MVNOs, especially Cricket Wireless, are a very popular alternative to the large carrier itself.
Cricket Wireless Coverage Map/Area
Cricket’s coverage depends on AT&T’s coverage. As AT&T has approximately 10000 towers situated all over the country and connects over 99% of the population, their coverage and the coverage of all their MVNOs is pretty impressive.
As AT&T’s towers aren’t equally distributed throughout the country, it is important to check whether or not Cricket offers good coverage in your specific area.
AT&T has the best coverage in Delaware, Indiana, and New Jersey (99.99%). They also provide supreme coverage in the following states.
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
They have by far the worst coverage in Alaska (only 11%) and in Maine they also have poor coverage (46%). You may also get spotty coverage in Arizona, Nevada, and Wyoming. However, as AT&T has roaming agreements in most of the areas with spotty coverage, customers can still make calls, send messages, and use data.
Cricket should theoretically have the exact same coverage as AT&T, however, as an MVNO it may experience reduced speeds and weaker signals in times of congestion.
As you can see on Cricket’s official website, you can rely on getting service in most areas in the country. The coverage is somewhat spotty in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. However, even in these states, customers get reliable service in populated areas and may only have trouble getting a strong signal in more rural areas.
Check Cricket’s coverage in your area by visiting cricketwireless.com/map.html and entering your address or ZIP code. The system will show you your area on the map and notify you of how strong the coverage is in that area.
Note that the coverage map on Cricket’s website only shows an approximation of wireless voice and data coverage. Actual coverage may vary depending on the terrain, buildings, signal strength, and other factors.
How Cricket Wireless Coverage Can Compare to Other Networks
Cricket Wireless can be best compared with other AT&T MVNOs. Surely, we can compare Cricket’s network with AT&T’s, however, the parent company tends to have a slight advantage in terms of signal strength and data speeds over its MVNOs, especially in times of congestion. Other AT&T’s MVNOs include Consumer Cellular, Straight Talk, FreeUP Mobile, H2O Wireless, PureTalk USA, etc. As Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T (while other AT&T’s MVNOs are not) and is the largest of AT&T’s MVNOs, it may have slightly better coverage than the rest of AT&T’s MVNOs.
To compare Cricket Wireless to other similar-sized wireless providers, it’s best to compare their parent networks. As Verizon has the best coverage in the U.S., AT&T has the second-best, and T-Mobile has the third-best (note: all of these major 3 carriers have excellent coverage), we can safely assume that Verizon’s MVNOs have slightly better coverage than AT&T’s MVNOs and T-Mobile’s MVNOs have slightly worse coverage than AT&T’s MVNOs.
Is the Cricket Wireless Network Most Reliable Network? How Reliable Is It?
Cricket’s network is obviously very reliable. In fact, Cricket Wireless may have the most reliable network from all AT&T’s MVNOs, as it is the only one AT&T actually owns. However, as Verizon’s network covers more area, Verizon’s MVNOs may have slightly better coverage than Cricket Wireless.
It’s important to note that the difference between the coverage of the major three carriers (and thus their MVNOs) is very small and that they all offer excellent networks.
Verizon has a 4G LTE coverage that covers 70% of the territory, AT&T’s 4G LTE network covers 68% of the territory, and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network covers 62% of the United States. All of them connect over 99% of the entire U.S. population and may only have weak or patchy reception in remote rural areas.
What Other Carriers Use the Same Network Towers?
All mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) run on one or more of the major networks – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
As Cricket Wireless is an AT&T’s MVNO, it uses the same network towers as AT&T and all the other AT&T’s MVNOs.
List of MVNOs that only use AT&T’s network:
- Cricket Wireless
- FreeUP Mobile
- Good2Go Mobile
- H2O Wireless
List of MVNOs that use AT&T’s and other carriers’ networks:
- Consumer Cellular (AT&T and T-Mobile)
- FreedomPop (AT&T and Sprint)
- Net10 (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint)
- Red Pocket (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint)
- Straight Talk (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint)
- TracFone (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint)
The MVNOs that use towers and networks from multiple carriers may sound as if they have by far the best coverage, however, as each individual customer only gets access to one network (depending on the device they choose and where they live), the actual coverage is basically the same as the coverage of those MVNOs who only use one network.
Cricket Wireless may have a slight advantage over other AT&T’s MVNOs, as it is the only one owned by the parent carrier.
Read one of our past articles How To Replace Cricket Wireless Phone
Which Network Technology and Devices Does Cricket Wireless Use? GSM or CDMA?
As we have established before, Cricket Wireless formerly used Sprint’s towers and network and as such, it used CDMA network technology and mobile devices.
In 2015, a year after Cricket was acquired by AT&T, the company started transitioning to GSM technology – the technology AT&T uses. As only GSM-supported devices can use AT&T’s GSM network, Cricket Wireless had to ask all its customers to switch to GSM cell phones, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to continue using Cricket’s services.
Ever since September 2015, Cricket Wireless uses GSM network technology and sells GSM-supported mobile devices.
In case you also need information Cricket SIM Card Replacement Guide
Does Cricket Wireless Have Any Plans That Use Others Network?
Cricket Wireless was only recently acquired by AT&T and so far it seems that both AT&T and Cricket Wireless enjoy this new agreement. AT&T has gained millions of new subscribers and Cricket Wireless has gained the advantage of using AT&T’s priority nationwide network. As such, it doesn’t look like Cricket Wireless is going to switch either owners or networks anytime soon.
However, the provider is planning to shut down its 3G network in February 2022 and continue offering only 4G LTE and 5G networks to their customers.
What Phones Are Compatible With Cricket That Use Cricket Network?
Cricket Wireless offers a Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) program and allows customers to bring their own device to their network. The device the customer brings must be unlocked, GSM-supported, and compatible with Cricket’s services. You can check your phone’s compatibility with Cricket’s services at cricketwireless.com/cell-phones/bring-your-phone by entering your phone’s 15-digit IMEI number. If you have an AT&T device or a phone purchased at any other AT&T MVNO, it will almost definitely be compatible with Cricket Wireless.
Some of the many devices that are compatible with Cricket Wireless and can use their network include:
- Motorola moto g play
- Samsung Galaxy A01
- LG Fortune 3
- Apple iPhone SE
- Samsung Galaxy A11
- Nokia C2 Tava
- Apple iPhone XR
- Cricket Icon 2
- LG Harmony 4
- Cricket Influence
- Motorola moto g power
- Samsung Galaxy A12
- Nokia C5 Endi
- Samsung Galaxy A02s
- Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
- LG K92 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
- LG Stylo 6
- Cricket Ovation 2
- Cricket Ovation
- Alcatel Apprise
- Apple iPhone 11
- Apple iPhone 12 mini
- Apple iPhone 12
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Cricket Debut Flip
- LG Risio 3
- Alcatel Insight
- Alcatel Onyx
What Are Cricket Wireless Network Towers Pros and Cons
Just like everything else, the Cricket Wireless network also comes with a list of pros and cons. Before you commit to it, make sure to review and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of their network, and then make an informed decision.
- Cricket Wireless uses AT&T’s second-best network in the U.S.
- As AT&T is the owner of Cricket Wireless, Cricket has priority over all the other AT&T’s MVNOs.
- Cricket Wireless is planning on providing only high-speed 4G LTE and 5G networks for its users from the beginning of the next year.
- AT&T has the best latency experience (the fastest network response time) out of all major U.S. carriers and Cricket benefits from it as well.
- AT&T’s (and thus Cricket’s) 3G network is far better than Verizon and T-Mobile’s.
- AT&T and the MVNOs using its network are said to have the fastest download speed (around 27.5 Mbps).
- Cricket Wireless has less coverage than Verizon and its MVNOs, as Verizon has more coverage than AT&T.
- As an MVNO, Cricket may get slightly lower speeds than its parent carrier, especially in times of congestion.
- AT&T and the MVNOs using its network are said to have the lowest video experience rating of the big four (lading time, supporter resolution, stalling, etc.).
Why Switch to Cricket Wireless if You Are Happy With Another Carrier?
You may be satisfied with another carrier, but as many carriers don’t offer very appealing deals and discounts to their existing customers, Cricket may attract you with its special deals, discounted or even free devices from the most reputable brands, affordable prepaid plans, and reliable coverage.
What Bands Does Cricket Wireless Use?
Cricket Wireless (United States) uses 2 GSM bands, 2 UMTS bands, and 4 LTE bands. Find out if your phone is compatible with their services at cricketwireless.com/cell-phones/bring-your-phone.
What Type of Services Does Cricket Wireless Provide?
Cricket Wireless provides mobile communications services. They sell high-quality mobile devices, offer affordable prepaid plans, and provide reliable nationwide coverage.
What Is Cricket Wireless Customer Service?
Cricket Wireless has responsive and reliable customer service. They are available by phone at 1-800-CRICKET (274-2538) or 611 from your Cricket phone (Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm ET and on Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm ET). They also have an extensive FAQ page. Find out more at cricketwireless.com/contactus.
Is Cricket Wireless Good?
Considering the fact that the provider is known for its many generous discounts and special deals, high-quality devices, affordable prepaid plans, responsive customer service, and AT&T’s excellent network, we’d say that Cricket Wireless is one of the best prepaid wireless providers in America.
What Carrier Does Cricket Wireless Use?
Cricket Wireless uses AT&T’s cellular towers and nationwide network.
Does Cricket Offer 5G Coverage?
Yes, Cricket Wireless has launched its 5G network in August 2020. Its 5G network growing by the minute. You can check if Cricket’s 5G network is available in your area at cricketwireless.com/map.html.