Review by MacBridger
- Location: Smithton,Westmoreland,PA
- Cost: $40 per month
Bad "slow speeds, dial up latency, frequent disconnects, not unlimited"
Overall "Only good for people who need internet while mobile"
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
I live in a small town in southwest PA. We don't have a cable company, and I'm too far from the CO for DSL. Options for broadband are very limited. Until recently, it was pretty much satellite or nothing. In the last few months, I had noticed that wireless broadband was being offered. After doing some research I found two companies offering wireless service here. Verizon and Cricket. After comparing the two, cricket seemed the better deal.
I was told by a sales rep that the service can get speeds upwards of 700 kbps down. Thankfully, they have displays set up in their stores, so I was able to test it firsthand. The tests from the store were not encouraging, as the best speed test result I got was a mere 111 kbps down. Keeping that in mind, I bought a modem, UTStarcom UM100C, for $180 and paid the $25 activation fee. Thankfully, they have an instant rebate on the modem right now, plus an additional mail in rebate. ($70 and $50 respectively) The first month of service is also free.
Ordering was painless. I just went into the store and bought it. Brought the modem home, installed it and was up and running. A few notes on the installation: The modem requires 2, yes 2 USB ports. Also, it is important to install the software from the CD first. You will be prompted to connect the modem when it is time to do so. I'd also like to note the return policy. While I haven't had to use the policy, you lose the activation fee once you use the service. In addition, you only have 3 days to return the modem after you activate it. So I'd suggest you make sure you have good cell reception before you try to get this service.
UPDATE: Having had the service for some time now, I'm quite pleased with it. Speeds are widely variable, but are generally between 300 and 500 kbps down. Latency has been ranging between 150 and 350 ms. You're not going to be tearing up multi-player shooters with this connection.
It has been extremely reliable also. I have only been disconnected once, and that was after being connected for 26 hours. I have not had to deal with tech support yet. Hopefully I won't have to. I'd recommend this to anyone over dial up or satellite. So if you can't get DSL or cable, try this out.
UPDATE: I've had Cricket for 3 months now. The biggest problem has been frequent outages. So far, it seems to average 2 outages a month for 2-3 hours at a time. I have been without stable internet 3 times this week. None of these issues have been with signal quality either.
The bandwidth is still decent. I can usually stream video, but it's borderline and sometimes choppy. Latency has been really good of late. (For this connection) Pings have been ranging from 150 ms to 300 ms, but usually right around 200 ms. I'm not burning up the gaming lanes, but they are playable.
Tech support seems competent, but I have not gone through any troubleshooting with them yet. Each time I have called they had already declared an outage and admitted to a problem on their end. The techs I have spoken with were all friendly and spoke clear, concise English.
One suggestion if anyone at Cricket happens to read this. Put outage information on your phone prompts! Not only will it save your customers a half hour hold, it will save your techs a ton of time sorting through outages and getting to other issues.
UPDATE: Things have recently gone downhill in a big way. Throughput has dropped to sub 56k speeds and I get disconnected frequently. My average speed as of this morning was 9kbps. And I just got disconnected again while typing this update... I would no longer recommend Cricket over dial up. While I still see an occasional speed burst above 56k, it is far too slow, inconsistent and unstable for a primary ISP.
Upon calling tech support I found out that my connection issues were due to the throttling from going over the 5GB cap. I am perplexed as to why they throttled me back to under 10kbps, but there you have it.
Final Update: Last summer I moved to an area with cable and DSL available, so I switched to Comcast. At the time of the move my Cricket service was little more (or less) than dial up. 300 ms latency with downloads under 40 kbps. And 40 kbps was the high end burst. Speeds typically ranged from 9-20 kbps and that was while under the 5 GB cap. (Yes, I started watching my bandwidth carefully after being throttled)
If the service is still as it was for the last 6 months I had it then I couldn't recommend it to anyone. The only possible use would be for someone who constantly travels and needs to access the internet. Even then, there must be better, more stable options.
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updated 3.4 years ago