Editor's note: Because evaluating wireless coverage requires experience with the network in a wide variety of physical locations, CNET does not rate wireless carriers. We can, however, tell you everything you need to know about the major carriers. We invite your feedback and ratings in our user opinions section--the more input we get from around the U.S., the better our users can evaluate coverage at a national level.
A subsidiary of Leap Wireless International founded in 1999, Cricket Communications serves 3.8 million customers in select communities in 27 states. Like MetroPCS, Cricket caters to casual or budget-minded users. It does not require a contact, nor does it require a credit check for new customers. Like MetroPCS, fewer rebates mean you will pay for more your phone. All of Cricket's monthly calling plans offer unlimited anytime minutes, however, other basic features such as voice mail, caller ID, and call waiting are not always included. Cricket's phone lineup includes many basic CDMA models, but it offers some higher-end models as well. Though you'll be using another carrier's network when roaming, Cricket signed a ten-year roaming agreement with MetroPCS in 2008. Also, its "Premium Extended Coverage" provides almost nationwide coverage thanks to agreements with 14 wireless carriers.
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