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Cricket Still Selling “Unlimited Wireless Broadband” That Isn’t

Phillip Dampier September 16, 2009 Data Caps, Editorial & Site News, Wireless Broadband 43 Comments

cricketwirelessCricket has a nasty habit of selling customers an unlimited mobile broadband service… that is limited to 5GB of usage per month.  Today, the company announced it would be expanding its prepaid wireless broadband service to “big box” retail stores nationwide:

Cricket Broadband will soon be available in nearly 1,000 national retailer stores through a new all-inclusive $50 monthly service plan. The new plan will include all fees and taxes and provides unlimited Internet access without a signed contract or credit check. The Cricket A600 modem will be available as a grab-and-go offering for $69.99 with no activation fee. $50.00 top-up cards will also be available for this product.

The marketing on their website underlines the point: “With unlimited broadband access you can email, surf and download from your desktop or laptop anywhere in Cricket Broadband’s coverage areas.”

“Unlimited” in their marketing is actually “5GB” in the nitty-gritty details on their website as you sign-up:

Subscriber Management
We reserve the right to protect our network from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance. We reserve the right to limit throughput speeds or amount of data transferred, and to deny, modify or terminate service, without notice, to anyone whose usage adversely impacts our network, service levels or uses more than 5 GB in a given month. We may monitor your compliance with the above but will not monitor the content of your communications except as otherwise expressly permitted or required by law.

Cricket needs to discontinue the practice of referring to a service as “unlimited” when it isn’t unlimited at all.  Cricket is also well aware of the 5GB limitation, because it is currently testing a 10GB plan priced at $60 a month.

Cricket has also applied for federal broadband stimulus funding to provide service to low income residents:

Low-income residents in San Diego County who can’t afford Internet service may get some financial help if a local wireless provider succeeds in getting more than $8 million in federal stimulus funds to expand broadband access.

San Diego-based Cricket Communications said yesterday that it has applied for federal Recovery Act funding geared to expanding high-speed Internet access not only in more remote rural areas but also to the urban poor.

Cricket is proposing a $10.7 million program to provide subsidized, low-cost Internet service to 23,000 low-income families in San Diego, Baltimore, Houston, Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

Under the proposal, the federal government would cover 80 percent of the cost, with Cricket picking up the remainder. Cricket, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leap Wireless International, is working with One Economy, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, to help it reach out to low-income households.

In addition, it plans to substantially discount its normal monthly service of $40 so that participants would pay $5 a month the first year and $15 a month the second year. The grant would cover two years of subsidized service.

As for Cricket’s new broadband plan, I’m unsure what’s new about it.  It appears to be priced $10 higher than the old $40 Cricket plan (that comes with a $25 activation fee).  The A600 modem is available for free after rebate from the Cricket website, and the service price there remains $40 a month, although “taxes and fees” are extra, which may account for the primary difference between the two plans. Cricket appears to be moving to “all-inclusive” pricing strategies, which means the price you see is your “out the door” price. Many consumers are shocked when signing up for a mobile phone service that is advertised at one price, and turns out to be considerably higher once taxes and fees are included on the bill.

The A600 offers average download speeds of 538 kilobits per second (Kbps) and peaks at 787 Kbps. The average upload speeds offered by this modem are of the order of 502 Kbps, according to a PC Magazine review.

[Update 9/22: A response from Zocolo Group on behalf of Cricket can be found in the comment section of this article.]

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TM
TM
12 years ago

Sounds like classic bait and switch or more simply… lying in advertising. I’m surprised an Attorney General from any state they service hasn’t challenged them or any others on their advertising practices.

If a car dealer said come on down and pick up your free car but then put in the fine print only after paying the purchase price, the A.G. would be all over them for it.

Elaine Morrison
Elaine Morrison
12 years ago
Reply to  TM

When you buy Cricket Internet now, you only get 2.5gb per month before they slow down your service and start kicking you offline. In addition, I just had a rep tell me that usage is cumulative, so if you used more than your 2.5 or 5gb (grandfathered in now), then that will be taken off your next month’s usage. The broadband device itself tells you your usage, and although I have never hit 5gb, they tell me that their records say that I have and that’s what they go by. What a total rip-off company!!!

Passby
Passby
12 years ago

After 5g data speeds are killed but it does not discontinue service hence its still
technically unlimited

TM
TM
12 years ago
Reply to  Passby

Ask 100 people their interpretation, and I bet a vast majority would side with unlimited data transfer.

amy
amy
12 years ago
Reply to  Passby

no, it says unlimited broadband service and after the 5 gb is used, it switches to dial up..l. hence the false advertising.

val
val
12 years ago
Reply to  Passby

I hate cricket to their cap sucks and but iv went over and my internet has slowed down cricket is a false advertiser. never get cricket get quest its tons better and cheaper.

Elaine Morrison
Elaine Morrison
12 years ago
Reply to  Passby

They told me that it’s unlimited because you can still connect to the internet, regardless of whether you can access anything or not due to slooooooow speeds. However, I find that I cannot even connect. It kicks me off immediately every time once I hit my limit. They are a company that cares only about attracting new customers with false advertising and care nothing about keeping existing customers. Stupid.

jo
jo
12 years ago

I can tell you that within my first 20 days my streaming/download is down to 10KBPS!!!!! THIS SERVICE SUCCKKSSS. DONT WASTE ANY MONEY ON IT.

PrepaidWirelessGuy
12 years ago

While I agree that advertising can be deceiving, and carriers need to be cautious and HONEST, carriers do need protection against abusers. These clauses are to catch abusers and is common place in the market, which translates into lower overall costs for everyone. If carriers had to account for the cost of abusers with no recourse at all, we would not be seeing the unlimited voice and data place currently available. It’s the apparent deception that throws people off, but when you dig into it, it’s overall desirable for the average (or 95%) of consumers. Trust me, you don’t want… Read more »

Mr. Dialup
Mr. Dialup
12 years ago

I am literally a brand new CRICKET novice. I just received our A600 device and am getting ready to install and attempt to use it. I live in a small rural town and do not wish to spend a $100/mo on satelitte high speed internet. So for too many years I have struggled to live with dial up. I am looking for relief and more speed from CRICKET and will be happy if I actually experience that. I will also be thrilled if the A600 installs as easy and quickly as CRICKET says and if it doesn’t hose up my… Read more »

colton
colton
12 years ago
Reply to  Mr. Dialup

10 Kbps, max. ‘Nuff said. Period. End of story. For months and months, and months. No change, ever. Screwing poor people is what Cricket is all about.

Mr. Dialup
Mr. Dialup
12 years ago

I’m back for a followup comment to yesterday’as comments. As I said in my previous message, I am a brand new CRICKET customer and last night I installed my brand new A600 device and used if for the first time. I followed the dirctions and they all worked without a hitch — the ACTIVATON instructions were inaccurate, but you click OK not YES, as instructed and then wait until the device says it’s activated. The CRICKET device worked immediately & is much faster than my 56kb dialup service has ever been, especilally at sites with large amounts of graphics to… Read more »

CricketAbuser
CricketAbuser
12 years ago
Reply to  Mr. Dialup

Mr. Dialup says: September 25, 2009 at 8:33 am I’m back for a followup comment to yesterday’as comments. As I said in my previous message, I am a brand new CRICKET customer and last night I installed my brand new A600 device and used if for the first time. I followed the dirctions and they all worked without a hitch — the ACTIVATON instructions were inaccurate, but you click OK not YES, as instructed and then wait until the device says it’s activated. The CRICKET device worked immediately & is much faster than my 56kb dialup service has ever been,… Read more »

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
12 years ago

Mr. Dialup: Many devices I use have the same stop functions buttons you speak of Even my new 2 week old HP printer. Looking at them I always see they are always talking to your system and an outside net site all the same time. BTW that is burning up your cap amount even as you sleep. I doubt just unplugging your a600 by itself would fry the device but it may build confused software for the device and at least require a full reboot to get things back in order. Disclaimer…. As in most Electrical devices there is always… Read more »

annoyed
annoyed
12 years ago

I have been a Cricket user for a few months. What a mess it all is. For one thing they do not tell you that using it in your apartment may slow down the service. It may be faster then standard dial up but many days it seems like that is just barely so. Also, their billing practices are really out there. First, if they send you a paper bill, it costs you $1.25 for that bill. Then, if you want to pay your bill in their office, that costs you an additonal $3.00-something they do not tell you. If… Read more »

Gary
Gary
12 years ago
Reply to  annoyed

They advertise this Cricket Broadband at $40 per month. What is the ACTUAL charge per month when you include the taxes and fees ?

annoyed
annoyed
12 years ago

I need to add something to my other comments. According to the people from Cricket that they do not cut people off during usage and that is patently untrue. Several times I have been in the middle of activities only to be logged out of the service. Depending on what you are doing, this can be a problem or, at least, a serious annoyance.

Also, I have had trouble streaming videos on this service.

Old Cricket User
Old Cricket User
12 years ago

I just want to say that the cap is wrong. Verizon and Cricket need to wise up. And Cricket’s customer service sucks…..

allen
allen
12 years ago

Whe I got Cricket “Unlimited Wireless Broadband” it was gr8. then after 2 weeks the speed went to slower than dialup. When I called their wonder customer service I was told what I got was a “Trial speed” “BUT for an extra $$$ I could get the speed back” My question to this cust. rep was “I was told that it was unlimited?? my answer was ” NO.It’s only a trial”

Alan
Alan
12 years ago

I do not understand the definition of an internet abuser, but I do know that I have not reached a 5gb download month since I have owned the device and my internet speed has experienced drastic reductions. I was unhappy from day one with the speed, but now the internet is practically unusable, I waited a couple minutes just for this text site to fully load nevertheless a picture or video. Cricket should change their explanation of their service to high speed internet for people who only use email, actually it is false advertising, that would not be considered internet… Read more »

bcxprint
bcxprint
12 years ago

I have had cricket broadband about a year. I was very unhappy initially with the inconsistent signal but got over it. I have had numerous issues with the lack of customerservice but I got over that too. What can I say I am easy I guess… But then a couple of days ago my computer seems slower than ever and I wondered if I had gotten stuck with some spyware or something like that.. well after 2 days of running test after test I finally called cricket and was informed I had been “limited”. I was and still am unbelievable… Read more »

T
T
12 years ago

They attempt to use language that is not legally actionable. The use of “Unlimited Broadband” Means broadband speeds throughout the month of service with no reduction in speed. Certainly not the reduction in speed to 10Kbs, that is NOT broadband. Their wording is factually incorrect and deceptive.

More people need to start complaining to the state attorney generals about this deceptive practice.

I will be calling tomorrow…

Crooked Cricket
Crooked Cricket
12 years ago

Cricket has now adopted the practice of limiting speeds down to 10kbps transfer rate even though the customer HAS NOT exceeded the 5 gig cap. When you first get thier service everything is wondeful… however, give it a few months and watch as they throttle your connection down to 10k and keep charging you full price. Monitor your monthly usage and you will see what they have been getting away with for some time now.

Jeremy
Jeremy
12 years ago

10 kbps per second. I wish ha ha… I tried downloading an audio file this morning and it went down to 5 something and no I’m not kidding and I hardly ever download stuff I just surf and watch youtube videos, listen to music on playlist.com and use ebay/email. I just waited like an hour for a 3 minute youtube video to load.. towards the end of the month I always have to pause the videos and wait for them to load usually many times over the length of the video it’s freaking ridiculous… The cricket is only reasonably fast… Read more »

mr nice
mr nice
12 years ago

I am currently at 6 gb now running the crap out of rhapsody still workin for me

cindy
cindy
12 years ago

I switched from att internet. I will be going back next week when I get paid.This cricket worked great for about 2 weeks.Now it cuts off every 3-4 minutes!!! It is slow now too.I hate it!!!!
I would NOT reccommend it to anybody! My dial up I had years ago was better than this!

piggy
piggy
12 years ago

I have been trying to figure out why my connection has been so slow lately and I think this is the reason. I go to school online and so I use my cricket everyday. My question about the 5GB. How do u know when u have reached this cap? Is it in the logs? Does the cap reset at each month your bill is due? Also the software on the modem some how came off the device and then I downloaded one off the site and its causing alot of problems for me. Cali already seems to have a lawsuit… Read more »

jmn
jmn
12 years ago
Reply to  piggy

Piggy,

I’m with you – I’ve been thinking my computer had a virus or my video driver was wrong or WTF!! NOWHERE was it made clear to me that my usage was limited.

and worse yet, they allowed me to waste many frustrating hours attempting to repair my system when it was the piece of crap modem all along. They are well aware of what their customers are going through, and they don’t care.

Cricket is misleading consumers and it is a SCAM!

Never again.

Quilldrops
Quilldrops
12 years ago

I’ve had Cricket cell phone for 7 1/2 years and it’s been fine. Had broadband since the first week they offered it. It also has been pretty good. A few days ago I got a new laptop with Windows 7. My broadband wouldn’t work. Went to Cricket (because I could not get through on the phone) and they told me that there was nothing that they could do; I would just have to purchase a new broadband. They gave me a “deal” and sold me the 600 for $76. It is unbelievably slow compared to the old Cricket broadband, a… Read more »

Quilldrops
Quilldrops
12 years ago

Update on previous post. Called Cricket again. They told me that they slow the service after 5GB. When you get close to your limit of 10 GB, they slow it to a crawl, which is what happened for me. I have to do a lot of downloads for my job, plus I let my teens use it, so we are at 9.4GB for the month. The rep said that it refreshes every month and you get to start with fast service again. He also said that if you have Windows 7, you need to have a Cricket store do an… Read more »

val
val
12 years ago

cricket you suck be more better with youre customers

J-Mann
J-Mann
12 years ago

I HATE THIS POS Cricket A600. I’ve had it for 3 months. 2 weeks ago I noticed a major change in how much It would download at. Down to… you guessed it… 10kB/s. I went to a local Cricket dealer and he just told me that they are working on the tower near me. So I waited and waited… came to this site and see now that there is a CAP that I was unaware of. I bought this POS because it was “unlimited” and no contract. The price wasn’t all that great but… better than having to “bundle” and… Read more »

Ian L
12 years ago

The a600 isn’t a particularly bad device (I have one around somewhere)…it’s just that the network kinda sucks. There is a cap, though there are no overages if you exceed the cap. More than can be said of Sprint/Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile at this point, at least if you buy direct. Don’t get me wrong, 80 kbps sucks (sounds like you’ve lost EvDO for the moment) but the alternative is having an uncapped bill…

Sig
Sig
12 years ago

So this is what my problem is …

How long does this cap last?

Can you recommend any other cheap providers for NC?

Walter
Walter
12 years ago

This has to be the biggest scam I have ever seen in electronics. I feel completely ripped off and betrayed by circket. They jacked me up for almost two months of service and when my speed went to crap they informed me of their fair use policy and that basically the service was only good for broadband email and documents and was not designed to actually provice a “true broadband internet experience” as your typical provider might. WTF?????? So you call it wireless broadband and then you redefine what that means so that you can screw people????? WTF cricket????????

Ryan
Ryan
12 years ago

I think Cricket will go down in history as one of the most F-upped companies ever. They treat there customers like dog sh#@. They have consistintley miss leading advertisements. You can barley understand there phone reps because they outsource all there calls to India.. THERE IS NOTHING AMERICAN AND GOOD ABOUT CRICKET!!! I INCOURAGE PEOPLE TO TRY TO FIND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDER EVEN IF IT COST A LITTLE MORE. IN THE LONG RUN YOU WILL FEEL BETTER AND LIVE LONGER NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE STRESS AND [email protected]* THAT COMES ALONG WITH USING CRICKET.

TheWorstInternetEver
TheWorstInternetEver
12 years ago

WORST piece of sh** ever made. Got it just 5 days ago, worked great. I thought I had a great deal. I was getting download speeds of up to 200 kbps…

Couple of Youtube videos later, I wake up yesterday and i’m getting close to 5 kbps and simple websites are struggling to load.

Do all yourselves a favor and don’t buy into their “UNLIMITED” nonsense.

Loyd
Loyd
11 years ago

Just talked to a Cricket Rep about my broadband service Complained about the 5gb cap and throttling imposed on account The rep said there has always been a 5gb cap on broadband service even tho they advertise “Unlimited Service” which to me is false advertising. the policy of the throttling a user is just plain wrong every user that has service uses data differently some this is the only internet connection available. Cable broadband would cost $100 a month and only when home. every Cricket service account user needs to complain to cricket daily until they change services and advertise… Read more »

A Cricket Customer
A Cricket Customer
8 years ago

Been with cricket 3 months, honestly no complaints. It’s a good provider if you are on a budget and don’t want to dish out all the money you ever owned to AT&T

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