Prime Day can't-miss deals Cheapskate's favorite Prime Day deals Target's rival sale Walmart's competing sale Best Buy's me-too sale IRS child tax credit portal

Cricket adds free data roaming and an excellent $150 phone

The prepaid AT&T brand gives customers free data roaming in Mexico, Canada and the US. And it's also offering the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 smartphone.


The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 features a 5.5-inch screen and a "reversible user experience".

Josh MIller/CNET

The prepaid space is getting better every day. AT&T's prepaid branch, Cricket Wireless, has expanded its international offerings to include free data roaming in Mexico and Canada. In the same breath, it also introduced its next Android smartphone: the 5.5-inch Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 .

These new offerings are a smart move for Cricket, aggressively advancing its position in the increasingly competitive prepaid space. While top-tier providers like AT&T and Verizon have the largest share of customers, more and more people are prepared to pay the full price of a phone in advance. T-Mobile recently popularized the practice in the US, and it's currently the fastest growing part of the mobile market.

Today's announcement allows Cricket subscribers to the Smart ($50 per month) and Pro ($60 per month) plans to use their data in Mexico and Canada without incurring any additional fees. This complements the unlimited calling and texting feature that was introduced in July. Cricket calls this its "round trip" service.

In addition to the bolstered rate plans, Cricket is also offering a new phone. Available from November 6, the 5.5-inch Alcatel Idol 3 features a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing 85-degree wide-angle shooter.

As CNET found in its review of the phone , the OneTouch Idol deserves extra points for its loud front speakers and an interface that orients itself right side up even if it you turn the phone upside down.

Cricket claims to be the exclusive provider of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, which also comes in a 4.7-inch version . However, that's only partially true. You can score the unlocked phone for $250 direct from Alcatel's website. The upside of going with Cricket, though, is that it comes in much lower at just $150 without a contract.