Friday, June 30, 2017

Hail Cricket, Farewell AT&T

AT&T LTE Bandwidth
I've used AT&T Wireless service since the first iPhone was released, exactly ten years ago, yesterday. AT&T offered unlimited data and then, a couple years later, they instituted limited data plans. I stayed with AT&T since they grandfathered me in with their unlimited data plan. Even today, I still had an unlimited data plan with AT&T, but they'd throttle it at a certain point. The data would still come through, but at a much slower rate.

However, data was never a big selling point for me. The real issue for me was monthly cost. Phone companies utilize a price elasticity business model, which means they figure out how to charge the most they can to maximize their profits. If they charge too little, they leave money on the table. If they charge too much, then customers will switch to another company. 


Cricket LTE Bandwidth
Generally, cutting edge smart phones cost $500 – $1,000 or more. To defray these costs, the wireless carriers will subsidize the price of the phone by having their customers sign a two-year wireless service contract. This works well since many people do not frequently hop from wireless carrier to wireless carrier. But I like the idea of not being committed to a single carrier. So, I typically purchase an unlocked phone. Purchasing an unlocked phone means I had no service contract commitment, plus I can insert any companies' or countries' SIM card.

About two years ago, my AT&T bill was a very ridiculous $150/month. I never used up my minutes so I dropped my plan down to a moderately ridiculous $95/month which kept creeping up until it recently hit $111/month due to inflation. That's when a couple friends told me about Cricket Wireless which is now owned by AT&T. Cricket utilizes nearly all of AT&T's cell towers meaning that I'll have the same level of coverage. But they key selling point of Cricket is that it costs way less than AT&T.


Switching

So, today, I made the switch from AT&T to Cricket. It took less than an hour for me to go to the local Cricket store and return home with my phone number and service ported.

My monthly bill dropped from $111.42, with AT&T, to $35 with Cricket. But there are some slight differences.


Cricket Cons

1. AT&T LTE down stream bandwidth clocked in at 13.4 Mbps. Cricket advertises that their LTE tops out at 8 Mbps. In practice, I'm seeing about 7.8 Mbps download with Cricket which is very respectable.

2. No more unlimited data. I now pay Cricket a total of $35/month for 4 GB of data. I looked at my AT&T bills from the past year and I was topping out at less than 3 GB of data/month.


Cricket Pros

1. Unlimited voice minutes. (I was paying AT&T $40/month for 450 minutes, with unused minutes rolling over.) Most of my talking is over WiFi since I use either FaceTime or Facebook Messenger, so voice minutes was never a big selling point for me, but I do like that I now have unlimited talk minutes.

2. Unlimited texting. (I was paying AT&T $20/month for unlimited SMS/MMS text messaging; with Cricket, that's all rolled into the $35/month plan.)

3. Cricket utilizes nearly all of AT&T's cell towers, so I should see no connectivity differences.

Today, I ended up paying about $75 to Cricket, out the door, for the $35/month plan due to one-time activation charges. Let's see where it goes from here.



2 comments:

Jean Vreeland said...

Good savings, I am going to switch too.

Joe Moreno said...

It's a lot cheaper. Plus, there's a My Cricket mobile app that's simple to use for monitoring data consumption and customer service via live chat.