Cricket introduced cheap new Phone Payment Plans, but it's hard to get too excited given AT&T's plans for the prepaid provider

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

July 17, 2013

2 Min Read
In Response to Leap's New Plans – Cricket's

Prepaid provider Cricket Communications, Inc. introduced what it's calling game-changing, disruptive new Phone Payment Plans to its customer base Wednesday, but the news got a little overshadowed by Friday's announcement that AT&T Inc. is acquiring its parent company Leap Wireless. (See AT&T to Acquire Leap Wireless for $1.19B.)

How can we get excited about low-cost pricing plans with a potentially limited shelf life?

Cricket's Phone Payment Plan lets its customers pick out a phone and get either no interest, deferred interest or no credit check after a down payment. With the no interest plan, you put 4 percent down and pay 4 percent of the total plan each month for two years. If you prefer to defer interest, you'll put 5 percent down and then pay a minimum of 5 percent each month, without interest if it's paid off in six months. If you have bad credit, you can choose to forgo a credit check and put 8 percent or more down and same as cash for 90 days.

In an online press conference announcing the new plans, Cricket President and COO Jerry Elliott called them "more competitive than any prepaid or postpaid carrier" and said the plans will help Cricket retain customers longer. When asked if the plans would stick around post merger with AT&T, he couldn't commit.

"Until the transaction actually closes, we're two completely separate companies and fierce competitors," Elliott said. "We'll move forward with everything we talked about today," which also includes the launch of two new Galaxy smartphones and an update to Cricket's Muve Music service.

Cricket's new plans are interesting because they come during a month that has also seen AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint change up their service plans. The reason why they are doing so is clear. As GigaOm's Kevin Tofel aptly outlines, smartphone trade-ups are happening at a much slower pace, but carriers want to keep their customers continuously upgrading, paying more and on their LTE networks for as long as possible. (See AT&T's Next to Shorten Wait for Device Upgrades, Sprint Fires Back at T-Mobile With Unlimited Guarantee and T-Mobile: Might as Well JUMP.)

Cricket's new plans do undercut the competition significantly and likely will appeal to the cash-strapped amongst its customer base. I'm just saying, don't get too attached.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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