New York – Cricket Wireless and U.S. Cellular are getting into the prepaid-service price wars.
U.S. Cellular lowered the prices of Simple Connect Prepaid plans, and Cricket Wireless added more LTE data to select plans.
At U.S. Cellular, subscribers can get unlimited minutes, messaging and data, with 1GB of high-speed LTE data, for $45 per month. For $55 per month, customers get 2GB of high-speed data, and for $65 per month, they get 4GB of high-speed data.
For a limited time, all new U.S. Cellular Simple Connect Prepaid customers get a $50 U.S. Cellular prepaid card that can be used to pay for accessories or future monthly plan charges. Also for a limited time, the carrier is offering the Moto G LTE at $79.99 ($49.99 online) and Samsung Galaxy S4 at $299 with its Simple Connect prepaid plans.
At Cricket, the company is increasing the 4G and 4G LTE data buckets of select plans. The $40 per month Basic plan gets 2.5GB of LTE data instead of 1GB, and the Smart $50 plan gets 5GB instead of 3GB. The Pro $60 plan continues to offer 10GB, and a new limited-time Advanced plan offers 20GB of 4G data. All come with unlimited talk and text, and after the 4G buckets are emptied, data speeds slow to 128Kbps. Prices include taxes and fees.
Like before, the plan prices are reduced by $5 if consumers enroll in an automatic-payment plan.
Also for a limited time, Cricket will offer a free month of service to people switching to Cricket along with free and discounted LTE smartphones if they sign up for the Smart, Pro or Advanced plans.
The free month of service is not available to consumers who switch from AT&T, which owns Cricket, or to consumers using Cricket phones that run on the CDMA network that Cricket is shutting down.
"Cricket's Advanced plan provides 15GB more high speed LTE data than T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid $60 plan, all on a network with more LTE coverage, and — with taxes and fees included – at a lower cost,” said Janna Ducich, Cricket’s marketing VP/chief marketing officer. Cricket’s AT&T-owned LTE network reaches more than 300 million people.
Some of Cricket’s free phones, after a mail-in rebate for a Visa Promotion Card, consist of the LTE-equipped Nokia Lumia 635, whose regular price is $99, and the 4G Nokia Lumia 530, normally $49. Also after mail-in rebate, the LTE Moto G goes to $24 from $149, and the LTE HTC Desire 510 goes to $79 from $149. The 4G LG Optimus L70 goes to $79 from $99 without the mail-in rebate. Additional phones are also discounted.