Review by KA3SGM
Good "Reasonable Cost, Easy Setup, No Contract, Decent U/L-D/L Speeds"
- Location: West Chester,Chester,PA
- Cost: $40 per month
- Install: about 1 days
Bad " No Nationwide Roaming, They are shtting down vast areas of ther coverage, as they scale back, and headed for certain bankrupcy."
Overall "Their equipment rebates are a complete LIE!! AT&T aquiring them is their only savior, but only if the deal gets approved."
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
Just to make a baseline here for the Broadband service review, I started with trying Cricket's "Unlimited" 1xRTT CDMA voice service about 1 month ago, looking for a cheap phone with no contract, that I could let my kids use over the Summer, without worrying that they would run me up a several $$$ bill, and I picked up the relatively cheap Moto VE240 handset for it.
I fully expected the newest carrier in town to have dead spots all over, but good coverage where my kids would be, as I could just roughly determine, by Cricket's rather poorly detailed coverage map.
I was however greatly surprised to find Cricket's coverage being quite good, and after dozens of voice calls, and easily 500 minutes of usage, I had yet to have even a single call drop or fail to connect.
Cricket is a No-Contract carrier, so I can start and stop service my services at will, and only eat the activation fee to go back if I suspend my service for a while(So They Tell Me, I Haven't Tested That Claim Yet).
(I also have voice service with Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, 2 incumbents that have been offering digital cell service here more than 10 years, and I seldom have dropped a call with either of them recently as well)
Philadelphia is one of Cricket's "Tri-Band" markets, which means it is operating exclusively in the relatively new 1700MHz/2100MHz "AWS Band", so coverage capabilities should be in range with the existing 1900MHz PCS carriers, when their network is fully deployed.
Cricket is running full EV-DO Rev.A for their broadband service here, I am using the Cal-Comp "A600" USB "Stick" modem, and I have been getting download speeds between 380-800kbps, and upload speeds of roughly 300-600kbps, and that seems pretty consistent, regardless of time of day, or signal strength trending between 2-4 bars.
I can only compare it to my old T-Mobile Sony-Ericsson GC89 GPRS/EDGE card, that gets about 150kbps down, and 45kbps up.
I was looking for a mobile broadband solution for my laptop, that was a bit faster, and I didn't want to be tied to a dedicated WiFi Hotspot all the time.
T-Mobile, who would have been my first choice for 3G mobile broadband, has launched their 3G service in the Philly Metro area, but they have yet to reach the Suburbs where I live, so I wasn't going to tie myself to a 2-year contract with a provider that was charging $25 more per month than Cricket is(Cricket discounts their Broadband an extra $5/mo for having a voice line with them), and for $60/mo w/ contract vs $35/mo wo/ contract, the T-Mobile UMTS 3G USB modem would only still fall back to the existing EDGE network speeds.
Cricket is also running a hybrid, Cell Tower, DAS(Distributed Antenna System) network in my area as well, which probably is the biggest contributor to their decent voice and data coverage.
They still use a fair number of conventional Cell towers, but they are combined with an array of fiber fed Micro-Cellular RF "Nodes" that they attach to the top of utility poles.
The DAS Node portion of their network is installed and operated by NEXTG networks, and they merely provide the Pole-Top Nodes, and a fiber backhaul network to a Cricket "Base Station Hotel", where everything connects back to Cricket's conventional cellular network.
The handoffs between towers and DAS Nodes has been seamless for voice and data services, and it allows them to install coverage where you would never be able to obtain zoning to build a conventional cell tower, which is probably why a brand new company in the Philadelphia market, has pretty decent coverage from the start.
They do have some weak spots, and my continued testing of their voice and data network will undoubtedly turn up some conventional "dead zones", but as of yet, I haven't really found any thus yet.
OF course, this is still Wireless 3G Broadband, where the speeds do vary a bit, and the latency is much more obvious than Wired Broadband.
I am already spoiled by my 20/5 Verizon Fios connection a home, and am used to respectful WiFi speeds at places like Starbucks, or the Public Library, but beyond my initial T-Mobile EDGE connection, that was always slow but usable, Cricket thus far is providing decent wireless broadband coverage, at about 5x better download speeds, and 10x faster upload speeds, than I had before, and it only works out to be about $10-$15/mo more than what I was paying for T-Mobile 2.5G EDGE.
Cricket calls their service "Unlimited" but it still has a reported 5GB "cap", but instead of charging overages of $0.45/MB by going over that cap, they simply throttle or discontinue your service until the beginning of the next monthly billing cycle.
I have gathered that 5GB "Cap" tidbit from other Cricket reviews that I have already read here on DSLR, and by reading the fine print of Cricket's TOS agreement, but I have not yet had a chance to try and test it yet.
Maybe I'll wait until the last few days of the next billing cycle, and try to transfer my own .MP3 collection from my Fios connected desktop, to my Cricket connected laptop, via a P2P or VPN tunnel, and wait and see what happens.
Unfortunately, Cricket Broadband has nowhere near the National 2.5G or 3G coverage as other providers, and their possibility of Broadband roaming looks to be pretty much out of the question.
But if you need to be mobile, in a single metro/suburban area, it seems to be working out to be a pretty decent contender to other carriers that DO have National roaming capabilities, but also want to tie you to a 2-year contract, and at a significantly higher cost per month.
In the end, I dumped Cricket, their service is good, but only where it works.
I no longer need mobile web access, and there were several significant coverage gaps that I found.
Their promised $100 rebate on their A600 USB modem never arrived after more than 9 months of service.
They promise 1 month of free service upon activation, but apparently it is the 13th month that is free, and not the 2nd month.
Cricket lies about instant rebates, you need to remain a customer for over 2 years to actually get the "INSTANT" rebate.
I doubt this company will exist much longer, if they continue with their deceptive ways.
They are largely abandoning their existing network, they are in full shutdown mode, AT&T is their only saving grace at this point. If the FCC says NO, they're going to go completely Bankrupt.
member for 7.9 years, 3002 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 65 days ago
| |KA3SGM- -... ...- -PremiumReviews:
West Chester, PA
Re: Shut Down It's still running around me in some places, but their phones are mostly roaming on MetroPCS(until T-Mobile turns off the CDMA) and Sprint right now.
I have my old Cricket phone, and a USB data stick from them, and they still connect and show signal, and since they aren't activated any longer, the PRL never updates, so the signal I am seeing is still Cricket's, just not in many places these days.
It's amazing what they have just abandoned in place, or where they had the ground equipment simply ripped out as scrap, but left the antennas and cables still on the tower.
ROCK 'TIL SUNSET