Prepaid Faceoff: Cricket vs. Virgin Mobile



Unlike with postpaid contracts, there are far more prepaid companies than you could shake a stick at and all of them have both good and bad qualities. So, every once in a while we’re going to go through and do a Face-off of two groups, examining how they relate and which is better at what things. Today, we’re going to look at Cricket Wireless and Virgin Mobile. Both companies are actually owned by one of the Big Four and share customer service with those companies. Let’s take a look at how they match up!

Plan Prices  Price range? What is included?

Cricket Wireless – Plans range from $25 – $60.

All plans include unlimited talk and text with a limited amount of high speed data. Plans priced at $40, $50 and $60 include unlimited low speed data. Cricket offers a $5 rebate on the $40, $50 and $60 plans if consumers sign up for auto pay. Cricket also tends to offer promotional discounts for multiple lines. Click here to view Cricket Wireless plans.

Virgin Mobile – Plans range from $20 – $55.

Virgin Mobile has many different plan options depending on whether you need unlimited talk and text, pay-as-you-go or if you want to share data between two more more lines. Some Virgin Mobile plans include unlimited low-speed text as well as unlimited talk and text, but not all. Compared to Cricket, Virgin has far more variety in its plans. Virgin also offers mobile broadband plans. Click here to view Virgin Mobile plans.

Unlimited Talk/Text  Is it offered? What is the lowest price?

Cricket Wireless – Yes, $40; includes 2.5 GB data

Virgin Mobile – Yes, $35; includes 250 MB

Data Ranges  What is the most and least data available?

Cricket Wireless – For feature phones, Cricket has a plan that includes zero data. However, for smartphones, data ranges from 2.5 GB – 10 GB high speed. All plans include unlimited low speed, throttled data.

Virgin Mobile – No data – 3 GB high speed and unlimited low speed

Pay-As-You-Go Rates  What are the pay-as-you-go per minute rates?

Cricket Wireless – N/A (no pay-as-you-go option)

Virgin Mobile – PayLo plans give consumers rates between $0.02 – $0.11/minute. Texts are charged at $0.15/text.

International Calling  What options are available? What does it cost?

Cricket Wireless – Most plans include unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada as well as landline calling to select countries. Customers can also purchase a $5 or $15 add-on for more international options which may include an additional 35 countries, MMS and other features. Click here to learn more.

Virgin Mobile – Customers with a monthly unlimited plan can purchase a $5 or $10 add-on to include international text, unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada or additional minutes for 70 countries. International add-ons are not available to customers on pay-as-you-go plans.

Activation Fees  How much do they cost?

Cricket Wireless – $25 one-time fee

Virgin Mobile – No fee

BYOD  Can you activate your own device?

Cricket Wireless – Yes, as long as it’s GSM and unlocked

Virgin Mobile – No

Network/Coverage  What network does it use?

Cricket Wireless – AT&T | Coverage Map

Virgin Mobile – Sprint | Coverage Map