AT&T's prepaid service, Cricket Wireless, is offering customers a one-month free trial of DirecTV Now, the new internet-based television service from AT&T. Unlike AT&T, however, Cricket is not zero-rating DirecTV Now. This means Cricket customers cannot watch an unlimited amount of DirecTV Now via Cricket's wireless network. Instead, they will be encouraged to seek out WiFi whenever possible. Cricket says customers can use the Cricket WiFi app, which is preloaded on most phones, to find free WiFi hotspots. DirecTV Now includes four pricing tiers that range from $35 to $70 per month. For a limited time, early adopters can score 100 channels of content at the entry-level $35 price. HBO and Cinemax cost $5 extra.
AT&T is preparing to launch a ZTE smartphone called the ZMax 3, say documents found on the FCC web site. The ZMax 3 appears to be a variant of the Grand X 3, which AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless has sold since earlier this year. Most importantly, the AT&T-branded ZMax 3 adds NFC and carrier aggregation for quicker LTE speeds. The FCC documents don't reveal any other obvious changes between the two models. The Grand X 3 includes a 5.5-inch HD screen, Cat. 4 LTE, USB Type-C connector, 3,000 mAh battery, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It also features an 8-megapixel camera, shoots 720p HD video, and packs a 2-megapixel selfie camera. AT&T hasn't said if or when the ZTE ZMax 3 might go on sale.
ZTE today announced the Grand X 4, a $130 phablet, for Cricket Wireless. The device features a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen, Snapdragon 412 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. Its main camera snaps 13-megapixel images with features like panorama and manual controls, and it shoots full HD video. The user-facing camera snaps 5-megapixel images and shoots 720p HD video. The Grand X 4 has a 3,140mAh battery, USB-C, and supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 1.0 for quicker power-ups. The fingerprint sensor can be used to unlock the phone, as well as launch apps and open the camera. The Android 6 Marshmallow operating system includes Dolby Audio and a number of Cricket apps. The ZTE Grand X 4 hits Cricket stores November 22.
Cricket Wireless customers can score more data on the prepaid carrier's most popular plan without raising their rates. Cricket's existing $50 service plan is improving from 5 GB of LTE data each month to 8 GB of LTE data starting today. The $50 monthly fee still includes unlimited talk and text, taxes included. Existing customers can upgrade online or by visiting a local Cricket Store. Cricket sells monthly plans that range from $30 to $70. People who take advantage of the Auto Pay tool can receive a $5 discount each month.
Verizon Wireless today said it will kick off sales of the LG Stylo 2 V on Oct. 20. The phone will cost $240, or $10 per month for 24 months. The Stylo 2 V, like the variants already sold by Boost and Cricket, 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 an octa-core 1.8 GHz Snapdragon processor, which is a change from the other versions, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The Stylo 2 V runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Cricket Wireless today commenced sales of the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at select stores around the country. The prepaid carrier is selling the iPhone 7 32 GB for $649, and the 128 GB for $749. It is also selling the 7 Plus 128 GB for $869. Cricket is not carrying the high-capacity 256 GB models. Cricket customers interested in these phones will have to pay full price for them, as Cricket doesn't offer monthly payment plans for hardware. The iPhones are also available from Cricket's web site, but the company says it has sold through its online inventory for the time being. Cricket has discounted several older iPhone models, as well. The iPhone 5s 16 GB, for example, is available for $199 and the iPhone 6s 16 GB is available for $449. Cricket's service plans start at $30 per month.
Cricket Wireless today dropped the price of its least-expensive plan to $30 per month. The plan includes unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of high-speed (8Mbps) data. Users who exceed 1 GB of data per month will be throttled to 2G speeds (128Kbps) for the remainder of the billing cycle. The new plan will be available September 9. Also kicking off September 9 are several promotions from Cricket. For example, customers who activate new lines of service will be eligible for a free Alcatel Streak, ZTE Sonata 3, or Kyocera Hydro View. Further, customers who port their number to Cricket from another carrier can purchase the Alcatel Idol 4 with VR Goggles for $99.
Cricket Wireless today revealed plans to sell the LG X power smartphone beginning August 26 for $160. The X power, announced by LG earlier this year, features a 4,100mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 that delivers up to two days of battery life. The X power also includes a 5.3-inch 720p screen and runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Other specs include an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and 5-megapixel front camera with selfie light. The device is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone accepts memory cards up to 32 GB. For a limited time, people who port their number to Cricket Wireless can buy the LG X power for $130.
AT&T and Cricket Wireless today announced a low-cost Android handset from Alcatel. The device is the same hardware as the Alcatel Dawn sold by Boost and Virgin, but has been rebadged as the Ideal by AT&T and Streak by Cricket. The phone features a 4.5-inch screen with 854 by 480 resolution, 1.1 GHz quad-core processor, and 1 GB of RAM. The Ideal/Streak includes a 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front camera, 8 GB of storage, 1,780mAh battery, support for LTE, and a memory card slot for microSD cards up to 32 GB. The AT&T Ideal runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, but the Cricket Streak runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cricket is selling the Streak for $30.
Cricket Wireless today said the Alcatel Idol 4 is now available for sale from its web site. 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 is charging $199 when the Idol 4 is 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.
GameStop today said it has finalized the acquisition of three AT&T retailers, giving it some 507 authorized AT&T shops. The company completed its purchase of Cellular World Corp., Midwest Cellular, Inc., and Red Skye Wireless, Inc. Together, the three businesses increase GameStop's wireless retail footprint significantly. GameStop already sells Cricket Wireless products and services at 3,400 of its stores, and operates another 1,400 AT&T stores. Terms of the recent acquisitions were not disclosed.
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.