Deezer today made its music-streaming service available to anyone who wants it in the U.S. The service was previously limited to Cricket Wireless customers and those who owned Sonos home stereo equipment. Deezer's offering is similar to Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Music in that it provides access to millions of tracks, radio stations, and podcasts to mobile devices. Songs can be streamed or downloaded for offline playback. Deezer is available to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. The app itself is free to download, but the Premium+ experience requires a $10 monthly fee.
Cricket Wireless today announced plans to sell the Alcatel Idol 4 beginning next month. The Idol 4 is the smaller brother of the Idol 4S. The Idol 4 has the same basic appearance as the Idol 4S, with a metal frame and glass back, and features such as JBL stereo speakers and a reversible user interface. The Idol 4 has a 5.2-inch full-HD LCD display, Snapdragon 617 processor with 3 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It has a 13-megapixel camera main camera, 8-megapixel front camera, NFC, Cat 6 LTE, memory card slot, Android 6.0, and fast charging. Cricket says the Idol 4 will reach its stores on August 4 for $199 when activated on a service plan. The package includes Alcatel's virtual reality goggles. Alcatel is selling the larger Idol 4S directly to consumers through its web site for $349.
AT&T's prepaid brand, GoPhone, plans to sell the Kyocera Hydro Shore through Walmart stores beginning July 16. The Hydro Shore is water and dust proof, and the 5-inch qHD display supports wet finger tracking. It is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the user-facing camera has a 2-megapixel sensor. The device includes a 2,160mAh battery and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. Walmart has priced the Kyocera Hydro Shore for GoPhone at $80. (AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless is selling the Hydro Shore as the Hydro View for $50, or as low as $30 with a new account.)
Cricket Wireless today announced another expansion of its retail footprint with the addition of 400 Sam's Club Stores. Cricket says its phones and services are now available at more than 13,500 retail points around the country. Cricket's plans range from $40 to $70 per month. Cricket is owned and operated by AT&T.
Cricket Wireless recently unveiled an offer meant to lure in customers of competing carriers. Through July 14, Cricket will reward consumers who port in their number with $50 in bill credits. Moreover, consumers who also bring their own device will receive an additional $35 in bill credits. Cricket says people who switch to Cricket will need to sign up for a service plan costing at least $40 per month and make two monthly payments before they are eligible to receive the bill credits. There is a small catch. Cricket is charging a $25 activation fee, as well as a $10 SIM card kit fee for those who bring their own device. The offer is available at Cricket retail stores as well as through Cricket's web site.
Alcatel's Idol 3 smartphone should begin receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow starting today. The company shared the news via its official Twitter account. The Idol 3 was Alcatel's 2015 flagship Android smartphone. It was initially sold directly to consumers unlocked, but was eventually picked up by Cricket Wireless. For now, Alcatel says only the unlocked variant will receive Marshmallow. The system update includes a number of new features, such as Now On Tap, Doze, and advanced permissions. Alcatel announced the Idol 4 back in February, but has yet to say when its 2016 flagship phone will go on sale.
Cricket Wireless today said it has expanded its retail footprint to a total of 3,400 GameStop stores around the country, making the gaming shop Cricket's biggest distributor. Cricket first began selling its devices and service at GameStop in late 2014. Moreover, GameStop stores now include dedicated employees trained to answer questions about Cricket devices and service. For example, GameStop employees can help customers pick out the right handset and plan for their lifestyle. Last, Cricket customers can trade in preowned video games and use the money to pay their Cricket Wireless bill or pay for handsets.
ZTE today announced the Grand X Max 2 for Cricket Wireless, an inexpensive handset that includes two rear cameras. The phone boasts a 6-inch full HD display protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The camera ensemble features 13- and 2-megapixel sensors on the back that ZTE says capture more detailed images. The camera boasts features such as bokeh, panorama, multiexposure, and manual modes. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor; both cameras can capture full HD video. The Grand X Max 2 is powered by a 1.5 GHz octa-core Snapdragon processor and ships with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The phone adopts the USB Type-C connector and the 3,400mAh battery supports Quick Charge 2.0 for rapid charging. Other hardware features include LTE, GPS, memory card support, and standard headphone jack. ZTE loaded Google's Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system on the device, which includes a variety of Google and Cricket apps and services, such as Deezer and Dolby Audio. The ZTE Grand X Max 2 is available at Cricket stores starting today for $199.99.
Cricket Wireless today said it will kick off sales of the LG Stylo 2 on May 13. The phone will cost $169.99. Cricket does not require contracts. The Stylo 2 has a 5.7-inch screen with stylus, a 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, memory card slot, and 3,000mAh battery. The phone is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cricket said consumers who switch to Cricket from other carriers will receive a $50 gift card, and consumers who switch from T-Mobile will receive a $100 gift card. The Stylo 2 is also being sold by Boost Mobile.
Microsoft is looking to clear inventory of the Lumia 950 XL and Lumia 950 smartphones, which means consumers can buy one at full price and get the second one for free. The deal is available via Microsoft's U.S. web store. Specifically, people who purchase the 950 XL at $649 will receive a Lumia 950, valued at $549, for free. Both devices are being sold unlocked with support for GSM carriers, such as AT&T and T-Mobile. The promotion is available while supplies last through May 2. Microsoft reported shipments of about 2.3 million Lumia phones in its most recent financial documents, which represents a steep drop from the 8.6 million it shipped in the year-ago period. The company admitted it is sitting on a lot of excess inventory of its flagship Windows 10 Mobile devices. Moreover, the company expects "year over year revenue declines to deepen as we work through our Lumia channel position." Cricket Wireless is expected to launch Microsoft's mid-range model, the Lumia 650, early next month. Microsoft has recently pushed a significant update to its Windows 10 Mobile platform and updated core apps such as email, Groove Music, and the Edge browser.
Cricket Wireless today announced plans to sell the Microsoft Lumia 650. The prepaid carrier will offer the phone beginning May 6 for $130. The phone runs Windows 10 Mobile and features a metal-frame design with a 5-inch HD OLED display, 8-megapixel camera, memory card slot, and removable battery. Cricket says people who switch from another carrier will be eligible for a $50 bill credit. T-Mobile customers who switch to Cricket will be eligible for a $100 bill credit. Cricket's prepaid plans start at $40 per month.
Cricket Wireless today announced a new service plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and LTE data for $70 per month. That price includes all taxes and fees. Cricket customers who enroll in auto-pay can reduce their monthly cost to $65. Along with the new plan, Cricket Wireless said it will reward T-Mobile subscribers who switch to Cricket with a $100 bill credit. Cricket operates on AT&T's network, but LTE speeds are capped at 8 Mbps. The new plan will be available beginning April 17.
Cricket Wireless today announced a new retail partnership with Aaron's that will make Cricket's SIM card starter kit available at about 2,000 Aaron's locations around the country. Aaron's offers goods on a lease-to-own basis. Consumers who lease a smartphone from Aaron's can now activate that phone on Cricket's network right at the Aaron's retail store. Aaron's online lineup of devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, LG G3, and Motorola Moto G. Lease prices are expensive. For example, Aaron's lists the Galaxy S5 retail price at $840. (The Galaxy S5 is available new from retailers such as Amazon.com for $360, unlocked.) Monthly lease costs from Aaron's run $90 per month for 18 months, which totals about $1,620. Finance charges are about $780 in this example. These prices don't include Cricket's service fees, which start at $40 per month.
Cricket Wireless today said Best Buy has agreed to sell the prepaid carrier's phones and services at some 1,000 stores around the country. The ZTE Fanfare and HTC Desire 625 are available from Best Buy's web site starting today, and will reach Best Buy's retail stores over the next few weeks. Best Buy will also sell a Cricket Wireless SIM card starter pack for those who want to activate their own phones. Cricket will expand the selection of smartphones sold at Best Buy stores over the next few months. With the addition of Best Buy's retail stores, Cricket said its phones and services are available at some 10,000 retail locations across the U.S. Cricket's plans start at $40 per month.
Cricket Wireless today announced the Galaxy Amp Prime and Galaxy Amp 2 (pictured), two low-cost Android smartphones from Samsung. Both devices ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Samsung's software customizations, such as Quick Launch for the camera. The Amp Prime and Amp 2 both support micro SD memory cards up to 128 GB.
- Amp Prime: This phone features a 5-inch screen screen and a 5-megapixel camera. The phone has Samsung's Easy Mode home screen experience, as well as Ultra Power Savings Mode to extend battery life. The Galaxy Amp Prime will available online and in stores on April 8th, for $149.99.
- Amp 2:This smaller phone has a 4.5-inch 800 x 480 screen, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 5-megapixel main camera, and 2-megapixel front camera. The phone has a 2,050mAh battery. It will be available starting April 15 for $99.99.
Cricket Wireless said it will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy S7 starting March 18. It is charging $649.99 for the phone and will provide a free Gear VR headset to those who buy before April 1. Cricket's service plans start at $35 per month.
Cricket Wireless today announced the LG Spree, a low-cost Android smartphone that goes on sale March 11 for $89.99. The Spree includes a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, and 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. The phone has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage, and supports memory cards up to 32 GB. LG's Quick Memo tool is on board, as are some of its camera modes, including Gesture Shot, Burst Shot, and Selfie Light. The Spree also has Knock On and Knock Code, as well as LG's customizable keyboard. The phone includes a 1,940mAh battery. The LG Spree reaches Cricket stores on Friday.
Samsung today said consumers in select countries, including the U.S., who preorder the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge will receive a free Gear VR headset. Samsung didn't say how long the promotion will be available. Many U.S. carriers have also announced pricing for the pair of phones. The Galaxy S7 costs approximately $670 to $700, depending on carrier, while the larger S7 Edge has a much higher price point between $780 and $800, depending on carrier. Monthly payments for the phones range from about $30 to more than $40, depending on the terms. So far, AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless have all said they'll sell the new handsets from Samsung. The device goes on sale March 11, but preorders start February 23.
Microsoft's web site suggests the Lumia 650 will be sold by Cricket Wireless, though Cricket has not confirmed that. The U.S. support page for the Lumia 650 mentions a Cricket variant, and includes a user manual for the 650 that names Cricket throughout. Additionally, documents spotted on the FCC web site confirm at least one version of the Lumia 650 supports U.S. LTE bands, including 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, and 17, which means it can operate on the networks run by AT&T / Cricket and T-Mobile / MetroPCS. Neither Cricket nor Microsoft have officially said if or when the phone might be sold to U.S. consumers.
Cricket Wireless says the ZTE Grand X 3 is now available online and in Cricket stores for $130. The Grand X 3 includes a 5.5-inch HD screen, Cat. 4 LTE, and a USB Type-C connector, which is reversible. It has 2 GB of RAM and its 16 GB of storage is expandable via a memory card up to 64 GB. The Grand X 3's 8-megapixel camera shoots 720p HD video, and a 2-megapixel selfie camera is located on front. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. Cricket will knock $50 off the price for customers who switch from another carrier. Further, people who port their number to Cricket will receive a $50 gift card.
Sprint says it has a new strategy in mind for its prepaid brand Virgin Mobile. During a call with analysts today, Sprint execs said the company is de-emphasizing Virgin at the moment in favor of Boost Mobile, and has gone so far as to pull Virgin advertising ahead of a the new strategy's debut. Sprint did not say what it plans to do with Virgin, though it did admit it is not pursuing the pre-paid space as aggressively as rivals Cricket and MetroPCS. "You've got to figure out where do you want to fight and where do you want to grow," said CEO Marcelo Claure. "We are keeping the customers that matter." Claure also took the opportunity to reassure investors and customers that its network improvement plan will not be disruptive. "This is not a rip-and-replace strategy," said Claure, calling the implementation a "progressive build" that will make changes for the better. The company is expected to relocate some cell towers and make greater use of small/macro cells to densify its network. It may also shift some backhaul operations to microwave in order to cut down the fiber carriage fees it pays to AT&T and Verizon. Claure still believes Sprint can become the No. 1 or No. 2 network in terms of absolute performance in 80% of the country's markets within two years.
Cricket Wireless is looking to entice people to switch to its network by offering discounts on a number of smartphones. Beginning January 22, consumers who port their number to Cricket can buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 for $399.99, a savings of $100 over the normal retail price. Cricket is making similar discounts, ranging from $20 to $50, available to a dozen other devices, including the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 ($109.99), ZTE Grand X Max ($99.99), HTC Desire 626s ($89.99), and Microsoft Lumia 640 ($79.99). The promotion runs for a limited time. Cricket's service plans start at $40 per month. Wireless carriers are competing for customers fiercely. With most Americans already carrying a smartphone, the only way for carriers to score new customers is to steal them from rivals.
Cricket Wireless today appointed John Dwyer as president and head of operations. Dwyer replaces Jennifer Van Buskirk, who has moved to another position within Cricket's parent company, AT&T. Dwyer will be responsible for Cricket's day-to-day operations, long-term planning, and strategy. Dwyer previously worked in various sales and marketing positions within AT&T.
The Grand X 3 is part of a growing trend to find new ways to bring premium features and design to mid-range and entry-level phones. The Grand X 3 is an extremely affordable phablet with a plastic body and low-end processor. Yet at the same time, it has the same curved-edge glass front normally found on much higher-end phones, plus an HD display and USB Type-C connector. We spent some time with one.
ZTE today announced the Grand X 3 for Cricket Wireless. It offers a 5.5-inch HD screen and Cat. 4 LTE for just $130. It's also the most affordable phone to date to sport a USB Type-C connector, which is reversible. That connector supports fast charging for the 3,000 mAh removable battery. It has 2 GB of RAM and its 16 GB of storage is expandable via a memory card up to 64 GB. Its 8-megapixel camera shoots 720p HD video, and a 2-megapixel selfie camera graces the front. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor. The Grand X 3 will be available from Cricket later this month.
Kyocera and Cricket Wireless today announced the Hydro View, a waterproof Android smartphone that is similar to the Hydro Air. The View is rated IP57 against water and dust and can sit in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. It features a 5-inch qHD screen with wet finger tracking. The View is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 64 GB. The rear camera can capture 5-megapixel images or 1080p HD video. The front camera rates 2 megapixels. Radios include LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, and WiFi with support for mobile hotspot. The Hydro View runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes with several of Kyocera's apps and services, such as EcoMode and MaxiMZR to keep the 2160mAh battery up and running. The Kyocera Hydro View will hit Cricket stores January 8 for $79.99.
Cricket Wireless is offering people who port their number to Cricket today through Jan. 7 a $100 bill credit. A similar promotion, which gave switchers a $100 shopping card, was first unveiled during the Black Holiday shopping week. That promo expired Dec. 6. The new promotion is a bill credit, not a shopping card. Cricket says the promo can be combined with several of its other seasonal offers, such as discounts on the LG G Stylo and Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime.
Cricket today announced more holiday promotions that see significant price cuts to its lineup of smartphones. Beginning Dec. 4, new and existing customers can but the iPhone 5c for $179.99 or $229.99 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. Similarly, the iPhone 5s will cost $199.99 and $249.99 for the 16GB and 32GB models. These prices are in effect through Jan 7. Cricket is also offering incentives to people who switch from other carriers. Cricket will sell the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime to switchers for $29.99, the LG G Stylo for $49.99, and the ZTE Sonata 2 for $9.99. Customers who switch by Dec. 6 will receive a $100 shopping card.
T-Mobile is targeting AT&T customers once again with a new promotion that cuts $200 from the price of the iPhone 6s 128GB. AT&T, Cricket, and GoPhone customers who port their number to T-Mobile can buy the 128GB iPhone for the same price as the 16GB iPhone. T-Mobile is also offering to cut the price of select accessories by up to 50%. For example, smartwatches, Bluetooth speakers, and fitness trackers are eligible for discounts when purchased in-store. The discounted iPhone will be available to AT&T customers between Dec. 4. and Dec. 13. T-Mobile says the promotion can be combined with Carrier Freedom, which offers to pay ETFs and other fees up to $650 per line to those who switch from AT&T to T-Mobile. T-Mobile offered a similar promotion to Sprint customers last week, and says Verizon customers will have their own promo in the weeks ahead.
Cricket Wireless today announced that John Dwyer will replace Jennifer Van Buskirk as president. Dwyer will be responsible for the brand's day-to-day operations and long-term strategy. Before joining Cricket, Dwyer worked at AT&T Mobile, Cingular, and Pacific Bell. Van Buskirk has been named president of AT&T's northeast region. Cricket is owned and operated by AT&T.
Cricket Wireless today cut the price of the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, and S6 handsets by 50%. Through Dec. 3, the Galaxy S4 costs $99.99, the Galaxy S5 costs $199.99, and the Galaxy S6 costs $249.99. Customers need to activate the handset with a line of service in order to receive the discount. Cricket said the deal can be combined with its offer of a $100 gift card to those who port their number to Cricket through Dec. 6.
ZTE today said it is making the ZMax 2 smartphone available to consumers unlocked. The phone was originally sold via TracFone earlier this year, but is now online directly from ZTE. The full price of the phone is $179.99, but ZTE is running a limited sale price of $129.99. The ZMax 2 has a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen; quad-core 1.2GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage; 8-megapixel main camera with full HD vide capture and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. It includes Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, WiFi, and LTE radios. The phone packs a 3,000 mAh battery. The ZMax 2 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and is compatible with the networks operated by AT&T, T-Mobile, and their prepaid businesses, Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS, respectively.
Cricket Wireless today kicked off a promotions to entice consumers to port their number to Cricket. People who switch to Cricket between today and Dec. 6 will earn a $100 Cricket Shopping Card. The card can be used for monthly service, handsets, and accessories at Cricket stores. Cricket said it will let new customers combine this deal with existing mail-in rebate promos on select phones to save even more money. For example, Cricket is offering the LG Risio, Motorola Moto E, Nokia Lumia 635, and the ZTE Overture 2 for free after rebates. The rebates are available to all customers through Jan. 7. The $100 gift card is only available to new customers.
Cricket Wireless today announced Cricket Rewards, a loyalty program that lets customers earn points that can be used for various rewards. The program is accessible via the Cricket Rewards and MyCricket applications, which are free to download. Cricket will award points for opening/registering accounts, setting up auto pay, making on-time payments, checking the weather, and other everyday activities. Customers can redeem points for gift cards at select retailers, including AMC Theaters, Amazon, GameStop, Old Navy, Sears, and others. Points can also be used to enter sweepstakes or make charitable donations. To help initiate interest in the program, Cricket is launching a $25,000 "selfie sweepstakes." There is no limit to the number of points customers can earn, and the points don't expire as long as customers remain active in the program.
Cricket today expanded its international options to include data roaming in Canada and Mexico at no extra charge. Customers who subscribe to Cricket's Smart and Pro plans, $50 and $60 per month, respectively, can use their rate plan data when traveling throughout North America. The Smart plan includes 5GB of data and the Pro plan includes 10GB of data. Cricket already provides unlimited calling, texting, and messaging in between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., and unlimited international texting from the U.S. to 38 different countries.
Cricket Wireless today announced that it will offer the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 beginning Nov. 6. The handset will cost $149.99 with a new activation. The Idol 3 has been for sale in the U.S. since April, but this marks the first time it will be sold by a carrier. The Idol 3 has a 5.5-inch full HD screen and octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The phone boasts stereo JBL speakers with Clarify processing and 1.2W amplifiers. The main camera uses a 13-megapixel Sony sensor that includes a variety of modes and video-capture tools. The phone has an 8-megapixel user-facing camera with wide-angle lens. Connectivity options include LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, FM radio, GPS, and WiFi. The Idol 3 has a 2,910mAh battery and supports microSD cards up to 128 GB. The Cricket Wireless variant of the phone integrates the Deezer music streaming service with Alcatel's Mix deejay application. Idol 3 owners can listen to their Deezer playlists directly from Mix and add effects, transition songs, sync, mix, scratch, or insert samples. The Idol 3 runs Android.
Cricket Wireless today announced a significant expansion of its retail footprint thanks to Target. Beginning Oct. 25, Cricket handsets and services will be available in some 1,600 Target stores around the country. Consumers will be able to purchase smartphones from HTC, LG, Samsung, and ZTE for prices ranging between $50 and $130, as well as SIM cards for BYOD customers. Cricket says the expansion means it now has a presence in 9,000 retail locations around the U.S.
Cricket Wireless says the vast majority of customers have transitioned away from its legacy CDMA network ahead of tomorrow's planned shutdown. AT&T has been moving Cricket customers from the older CDMA network to its own GSM-based network since it acquired the carrier several years ago. Earlier this summer, Cricket said 97% of its customers have made the jump to GSM handsets with lower-than-expected churn rates. Some CDMA customers remain active in California and a few other locations, according to Cricket, though the prepaid carrier declined to say exactly how many. Once the shutdown commences, those customers will lose network access. Cricket has been notifying customers for nearly 18 months of the impending shutdown via text messages, mailers, and emails. Cricket customers using older CDMA-based phones should upgrade their phone as soon as possible in order to maintain service. Cricket's CDMA shutdown follows that of MetroPCS, which T-Mobile shuttered earlier this year.
Cricket Wireless today announced availability and pricing details for the HTC Desire 520 in addition to a slew of other discounts and deals. The Desire 520 reaches Cricket stores Sept. 11 for $99.99. The 520 is an entry-level Android handset. Cricket is also offering significant discounts to new customers who port their number from another carrier. For example, it will drop the price of the LG Risio from $49.99 to $19.99 and the price of the LG Stylo from $149.99 to $99.99. Customers can grab the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $299, the S5 for $399, or the S6 for $499. Last, Cricket is holding open enrollment for its device protection program, called Cricket Protect. The service covers damage and other issues for $7 to $10 per month, depending on the handset.
Cricket Wireless today made more calling and messaging add-on plans available to a greater number of countries throughout Central and South America. For $10 per month, Cricket customers can add Columbia, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic to their plan. The plan provides 150, 100, and 100 voice minutes, respectively, as well as unlimited messaging (text, picture, video). For $15 per month, Cricket customers gain various amounts of voice minutes and unlimited messaging to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica, Haiti, and Nicaragua. These options must be added to Cricket's $50 or $60 monthly plans. Cricket also improved its Canada plan. Subscribers to the $50 or $60 plans will receive unlimited talk and text to and from Canada (when roaming) for free. Cricket already offers similar unlimited calling and messaging to/from Mexico. The new international add-ons are available starting today.