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Cricket Wireless Vs Metro by T-Mobile

Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile are both carrier-owned prepaid wireless brands. Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T, and as you can tell by its name, Metro by T-Mobile is owned by T-Mobile.

Both providers generally offer cheaper wireless plans than their parent brand counterparts. And both are fiercely competitive with one another.

But which brand is the right one for you?

Well, that’s going to come down to a variety of factors. A big one is network coverage. So let’s start there.

Cricket Wireless Vs Metro by T-Mobile Coverage

Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile both offer nationwide 4G LTE and 5G networks. But when it comes to 4G LTE network coverage, as depicted in FCC coverage maps, AT&T has a much larger network. That gives Cricket the win in that department. But the roles are reversed when 5G coverage is looked at. T-Mobile has the larger 5G network.

But is 5G the be-all-end-all for coverage? Not at all. AT&T’s 4G LTE and 5G networks offer more coverage combined than what T-Mobile does. And 5G networks still rely on 4G LTE networks to function, in part, for phone calls. Most phone calls are still placed over an LTE network as VoLTE calls. Over time, calls will slowly transition to be placed over 5G networks as VoNR/Vo5G calls. Furthermore, in areas where a provider hasn’t built out its 5G network yet, service will fall back to 4G LTE. So you can expect more coverage in more places with Cricket Wireless compared to Metro by T-Mobile.

Data Speeds

However, if data speeds are more important to you, Rootmetrics and Ookla Speedtest both show that T-Mobile’s 5G network is significantly faster than AT&T’s. That means you can expect Metro by T-Mobile to have a significant data speed advantage over Cricket Wireless.

Summary

  • Bigger overall network winner – Cricket Wireless
  • Biggest 5G network – Metro by T-Mobile
  • Fastest 5G network – Metro by T-Mobile

So based on the summary above, Cricket Wireless may be better for you if you like to travel a lot and go through more rural areas. But elsewhere, if you use a lot of data-intensive applications or are a heavy streamer, Metro by T-Mobile may be the better option.

You should also be sure to check out the coverage maps for both Metro and Cricket which you’ll find here and here to see which provider actually offers coverage in your area. You can also go to the homepage of Compare Wireless Carriers and enter your zip code to see your local coverage.

Third parties using crowd-sourced data like the Opensignal app, available on both Android and iOS can also be of help. Opensignal will show you data speeds from real-world users in your area that run speed tests and network checks on their phones. A limitation of crowd-sourced data like Opensignal is that if you are in a small rural area, you may not have any or many users running those tests in your area. And so the data provided by Opensignal may not be accurate for your location.

Cricket vs Metro Phone Plans

If coverage and data speeds aren’t deciding factors for you in deciding between Metro and Cricket, what plans each provider offers might be.

Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile each offer four phone plans ranging in price from $30/month to $60/month for single lines. Taxes and fees are included with each plan. Below are tables comparing each provider’s plans at their corresponding price points.

$30 Plans Compared

 CricketMetro
Plan5GB5GB
Price 1-Line$30$30
Hotspot CapableNoNo
Video Streaming1080p480p
Multi-line discountsNoNo

$40 Plans Compared

 CricketMetro
Plan10GBUnlimited
Price 1-Line$35*$40
Video Streaming1080p480p
HotspotNoNo
Mexico & Canada Calling & RoamingYesNo
Free PerksN/AT-Mobile Tuesdays
1-yr Subscription to Vix+ video streaming
Multi-line discountsYesYes**
2-Lines$70$80
3-Lines$90$90
4-Lines$110$100
5-Lines$130$125

*Price includes an autopay discount. Without the autopay discount, the price of this plan is $5/month higher.
**Metro by T-Mobile multi-line discounts only available when you switch and activate in store

Cricket’s $35 plan does come with one extra option. Customers who bring their own devices and are willing to prepay for the plan annually will save additional money. The plan is just $25/month or $180 upfront when paid for annually.

$50 Plans Compared

 CricketMetro
DataUnlimitedUnlimited
Price 1-Line$50*$50
Video Streaming480p480p
HotspotNo5GB
Mexico & Canada Calling & RoamingYesNo
Free PerksN/AT-Mobile Tuesdays
1-yr Subscription to Vix+ video streaming service
100GB Google One membership
Multi-line discountsYesYes**
2-Lines$80$80
3-Lines$90$110
4-Lines$100$140
5-Lines$125$170

*Price includes an autopay discount. Without the autopay discount, the price of this plan is $5/month higher.
**Metro by T-Mobile multi-line discounts only available when you switch and activate in store

Subscriber’s to Cricket’s $50 unlimited plan will notice their data speeds slow down any time the network is busy. On Metro’s $50 unlimited plan, customers that use more than 35GB of data during a billing cycle may notice reduced data speeds when the network is congested. Data speeds may also be slower than T-Mobile customers.

$60 Plans Compared

 CricketMetro
DataUnlimitedUnlimited
Price 1-Line$55*$60
Video Streaming480p480p
Hotspot15GB15GB
Mexico & Canada Calling & RoamingYesNo
Text From USA To InternationalYesNo
Free Perks150GB cloud storage
HBO Max
T-Mobile Tuesdays
1-yr Subscription to Vix+ video streaming
Amazon Prime
Multi-line discountsYesYes**
2-Lines$90$90
3-Lines$110$120
4-Lines$130$120
5-Lines$160$150

*Price includes an autopay discount. Without the autopay discount, the price of this plan is $5/month higher.
**Metro by T-Mobile multi-line discounts only available when you switch and activate in store

Subscriber’s to Cricket’s $60 unlimited plan will get unlimited premium data or data speeds that don’t slow down based on usage/data consumption when the network is busy. On Metro’s $60 unlimited plan, customers that use more than 35GB of data during a billing cycle may notice reduced data speeds when the network is congested. Data speeds may also be slower than T-Mobile customers.

Activating A Plan

Activating a plan and service with each provider is free online. However, if you activate Metro service in store, you can expect to pay a $20/line activation fee. Cricket may charge a $25/line activation or upgrade fee in stores.

Data Only Plans

When it comes to data only plans, Metro by T-Mobile has more options. Cricket only has three data only plans and they are priced as follows:

Cricket Wireless

  • $35/month – 20GB
  • $55/month – 50GB
  • $90/month – 100GB

Cricket’s data only plans all include usage in Mexico and Canada at no extra charge. Taxes and fees are also included in the prices shown. Videos may stream at a resolution of 480p. Data is hard capped. So once you run out of data, that’s it until your next billing cycle unless you add a top-up. Additional data can be purchased priced at $5 for 2GB and $10 for 5GB. The plans can be used in either a hotspot device or tablet.

Metro by T-Mobile offers separate hotspot, tablet and car/RV plans. Metro’s data only plans are as follows:

Metro by T-Mobile

Hotspot Plans

  • $30/month – 10GB
  • $40/month – 30GB
  • $50/month – 100GB

Data is hard-capped but you can add top-ups priced at 2GB – $5, 5GB – $10 and 10GB for $20.

Tablet Plans

  • $15/month – unlimited high-speed data with 480p video streaming
  • $30/month – unlimited high-speed data with HD video streaming

During times of network congestion, customers using more than 35GB of data in a month will notice reduced speeds until the congestion is relieved, and customers may notice slower data speeds compared to T-Mobile customers.

Car/RV Plans

  • $10/month – 2GB high-speed data

Home Internet

  • $50/month with autopay – T-Mobile Home Internet, with unlimilted data. First month free through Metro by T-Mobile stores when you add internet to any phone plan

Neither Cricket Wireless nor Metro by T-Mobile offer a home internet plan under their own brand names. However, Metro by T-Mobile stores will sell you T-Mobile’s home internet plan.

Unfortunately, Metro’s data only plans are not stand-alone plans. That means in order to get one, you must have a Metro phone plan too. Cricket Wireless’s data only plans can be subscribed to with or without a phone plan.

Winner: Tie. While Metro’s data only plans offer many more options and at cheaper price points, they are tied to Metro phone plans limiting their availability. But if you already have a Metro phone plan, Metro’s data only plans are the clear winner.

Both Cricket Wireless And Metro Are Sold In Stores Nationwide

Both Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile have a vast array of dealer stores that can be found in cities and towns nationwide. Both brands are also available at Walmart. However, Cricket Wireless is also sold in Target stores, but Metro by T-Mobile is not. According to Scrapehero, there are more Metro dealer store locations than Cricket dealer store locations. But Cricket dealer stores are found in more cities and more states. Overall, Cricket Wireless has an edge in retail and dealer presence. That makes it easier to get in-person help with choosing a device and getting customer support.

Winner: Cricket Wireless

What About Online Access?

Cricket Wireless is the clear winner for those who like to do all their shopping online. Metro by T-Mobile for some reason still does not let all of its customers and potential customers buy a device online. Metro allows a limited number of phones to be purchased online only if you need a new line of service and are not porting a number in. Virtually all customers wishing to port a number to Metro will need to head to a store to purchase a device and port-in. Cricket Wireless does not have this same policy. All Cricket phones are available for purchase online by new customers porting in or getting a new number. Current Cricket customers can also upgrade their phones online. Cricket’s best deals are typically available online and in stores. Metro’s best deals are often available in stores only.

Online Access & Availability Winner: Cricket Wireless

Phone Selection & BYOD

Cricket and Metro by T-Mobile both offer a wide variety of phones. Both providers sell the latest flagship devices from Apple and Samsung. They also offer a wide variety of budget phones. Metro typically offers more phones for free to switchers, but as mentioned above, there is a catch. Most, if not all free phone offers will require you to visit your local dealer to get one.

Each provider will let you bring your own phone to their network. However, Cricket is more limiting as to what phones you can bring. Cricket may also not allow certain features like mobile hotspot to work for bring your own device customers.

Winner: Metro by T-Mobile

Choose Cricket If:

  • You prefer to buy your devices and subscribe online
  • You value overall network coverage, not just 5G
  • You plan to frequently visit Canada and/or Mexico
  • You want an unlimited plan that doesn’t slow down based on usage

Choose Metro If:

  • You need the fastest data speeds
  • You need 5G coverage
  • You want free weekly gifts/discounts via T-Mobile Tuesdays
  • You want a consistently bigger selection of free phones for switching


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