Signing up for a wireless plan with Cricket usually comes with a big limitation — your data speeds when using Cricket owner AT&T's network are capped. But at least one of Cricket's monthly plans is shedding that restriction.
Appropriately, it's the carrier's Unlimited Extra plan that's shedding the data speed limitation. Now Cricket's $60-a-month unlimited plan features no restrictions on LTE data speeds, meaning you can reap the benefits of AT&T's network. (At least when the network's not crowded — Cricket reserves the right to throttle your speeds if there's traffic congestion, but that's standard practice among prepaid carriers.)
Signing up for autopay knocks $5 off the Unlimited Extra plan's cost, bringing your bill down to $55 a month. You can add extra lines to the Unlimited Extra plan for $30 on each additional line. That's consistent with what rival discount carriers Boost and MetroPCS (soon to be known as Metro by T-Mobile) charge for additional lines on their respective unlimited plans.
By no longer capping data speeds at 8 Mbps on its Unlimited Extra plan, Cricket should be able to better compete with unlimited offerings at other carriers. Both Metro and Boost have unlimited plans that start at $50 a month; they don't restrict data speeds, though, like Cricket, they do limit video streaming to 480p resolution. Boost also has restrictions on game and music streaming for its $50 plan.
Cricket is also hoping to lure customers with other benefits on its Unlimited Extra plan. Customers get unlimited talk, text and data when traveling in Mexico. (You can also use talk, text and data in Canada, though that can't be more than 50 percent of your total usage.) Cricket's also dangling a 7-day free trial of DirecTV Now, the AT&T owned streaming service, for its customers, though the service also offers a 7-day trial to anyone when you sign up at the DirecTV website.
Even with the 8 Mbps data speed cap gone, you'll still find a few things missing from Cricket's Unlimited Extra plan. For example, if you want LTE hotspot data, you'll need to buy a $10-per-month add-on for 10GB. Boost includes 8GB of hotspot data with its $50 unlimited plan, and Metro will offer 5GB when its revamped $50 plan launches later this month.
Only the Unlimited Extra plan at Cricket is losing the data speed cap. Cricket will continue to cap speeds on its tiered data plans at 8 Mbps. The less expensive unlimited plan at Cricket ($50 a month after a $5 autopay discount) caps speeds at 3 Mbps.