Cricket Wireless has quietly followed the lead of many other wireless providers by adding a multi-month discount plan to its lineup. Cricket has opted to discount its $40/month plan with 10GB of high-speed data down to an average cost of $25/month when customers prepay $300 for it annually. Taxes and fees are included in the price. Wave7 Research noted the plan update in a prepaid report that the firm just sent out to its subscribers.
Cricket's Multi-Month Annual Discount Plan Fine Print
Cricket Wireless's new annual plan option has a fair amount of fine print attached to it which makes its availability rather limited. For starters, the plan is only available to customers that bring their own devices over to the network. It's also an online-only offer and is not available in stores. The annual plan option is limited to new customers only as the plan's fine print says it requires a new Cricket Wireless account. Finally, it requires a new SINGLE Line of service.
Customers that purchase the annual plan will have the $300 plan cost credited to their Cricket Wireless account. Each month, Cricket will then deduct $25 from the subscriber's account. Subscribers that add additional features to their plan will have the charges for those features deducted from their account credits thereby shortening the duration of their annual plan to less than 12 months. Cricket offers plan add-ons such as international calling that starts at $5/month for unlimited calling to landlines in 35 countries and $10 for an additional 1GB of high-speed data. So if you signup for the annual plan and immediately add the $5 international calling credit to your plan, Cricket will automatically deduct $30/month from your account and the annual plan will then only last for 10 months.
Subscribers that add additional lines to their accounts or switch plans will lose their multi-month discount plan. The $300 in prepaid account credits will then be used to pay for the subscriber's new plan at its full monthly price or additional lines at their normal price. For instance, if a customer adds a 2nd line to their account on the $40/month 10GB plan ($35 with autopay) they'll no longer pay $25/month for their annual plan. Instead, they'll pay the two-line discount rate of the plan which is $35/month per line.
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Cricket Wireless's annual plan release is a long time coming. Its sister brand, AT&T Prepaid has been offering a similar $300 annual plan since 2019. However, AT&T Prepaid's annual plan only includes 8GB of monthly high-speed data, and taxes and fees cost extra. Also, unlike Cricket, the AT&T Prepaid annual plan does include full-service roaming in Mexico and Canada and international texting to over 100 countries.
Cricket Wireless is now one of at least a dozen wireless providers offering multi-month discount plans. Just a few weeks back, US Mobile announced it would also be adding multi-month discount plans in some form or another later this year. The company is already starting to gauge customer interest in such plans by offering 3-month discounted starter plans through Amazon.
Wireless providers and MVNOs have a growing love affair with multi-month discount plans as they increase customer retention times and bring in more money upfront. Subscribers like them for offering lower average monthly costs and they don't have to worry about paying their bills each month.
"The new Cricket annual plan is part of a trend of carriers offering strong savings in return for advance payment. Despite the rational reality of strong savings, many prepaid customers are living paycheck to paycheck, so I think the adoption of multi-month plans remains low.” - Jeff Moore, Principal of Wave7 Research