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Confirmed: Cricket Will Deprioritize Data Speeds After 22 GB for Unlimited Plan Users

Cricket $70 Unlimited Plan
It looks like AT&T's Cricket Wireless may be making some changes to its $70/month unlimited plan. Someone claiming to be a Cricket store manager posted on Reddit that Cricket has notified dealers that starting April 2, unlimited plan users will be subject to data deprioritization after they have used 22 GB in a month.

Deprioritization means that any user who has consumed more than 22 GB in the current plan month may see their data speeds reduced when the tower or network segment they are connected to is over loaded. Data speeds should return to normal when the congestion eases. Deprioritization is lifted when a new plan month starts.

The Redditor store manager also says that streaming video will be degraded to 480p quality as a data saving "feature" starting April 2.  Users will be able to opt out of 480p video but it will be on by default.

Deprioritization is not new. All four national networks deprioritize their postpaid unlimited plans. Verizon and AT&T deprioritize at 22 GB, Sprint at 23 GB and T-Mobile at 28 GB. Prepaid unlimited plans from T-Mobile, Boost Mobile and MetroPCS are also deprioritized. Cricket's $70 plan seems to be the only one that doesn't currently have a published deprioritization policy. However, all data on Cricket is throttled to 8 Mbps or less so it's all  sort of deprioritized.

Maybe Cricket will get rid of the 8 Mbps throttling when the deprioritization policy goes into effect. There's definitely something network related going on at Cricket. Multiple users have reported recently that they were moved to a new voicemail system and that the network proxy server their phones connect to has been changed from one operated by Zayo or XO to an AT&T proxy server. Users who have been switched to an AT&T proxy say that their ping times have been substantially reduced.

I have no idea what sort of speeds deprioritized users will experience on Cricket. It will probably vary depending on how bad the congestion is. Depending on how AT&T handles it, deprioritization may not have a major impact on affected users. I've seen comments from Boost Mobile users saying they use well over 30 GB per month and rarely see any impact from deprioritization.

I'm treating this as a rumor for now but I think it's highly likely to be true. The Redditor posting it is very active and has high post and comment karma. Reading his or her posts they seem knowledgeable about how a Cricket dealership operates. I will update this post as the story develops.

Update 2/24, 8:45 PM PT: Cricket issued a press release today confirming the 480p streaming. Cricket is calling it Stream More and it will be enabled on all Cricket accounts by default, sometime over the next few months. Users will be able to disable Stream More using their MyAccount web page or the MyCricket app. Cricket is also promising to enable VoLTE "in the coming months" and WiFi calling sometime this year. Today's press release made no mention of the rumored deprioritization after 22 GB.

Update 2/26, 8:45 PM PT: Cricket has sent text messages to Cricket customers confirming deprioritization after 22 GB. The text message has a link to a new Mobile Broadband Information page on the Cricket website. According to that page deprioritization and Stream More will be rolled out over several months with the first users receiving the new "features" April 2. The rollout to all users will be complete to all users by October.

Sources: Reddit, HowardForums, Cricket

45 comments:

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  1. HERE WE GO! If they are going to do that then get rid of the 8 Gbps throttling. ADD hotspot/tether to the $70 plan. Every other carrier has hotspot on their unlimited plan!!!!!!

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    1. Cricket is also adding VoLTE and WiFi later this year! Other things are brewing at Cricket as well ;)

      http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1893955-Cricket-to-add-Voice-over-LTE-(VoLTE)-technology-WiFi-calling!

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    2. Most other carrier's hotspot b.s. uses some hidden app authentication system to limit how much data you use via hotspot if you buy a phone from the carrier. I know at least T-Mobile does this, it's not hard to get around. At&t has taken a different approach, which imo is smarter. I'm more irritated that cricket is going to throttle an already throttled internet connection, so you can't even really call it unlimited. But maybe if people were SMART with their data usage and didn't abuse network resources by streaming stupid cat videos over LTE when they either have home internet or access to wifi, all of this would be a non issue. Ridiculous how many people pay for home internet and then never use it on their phone, and for some unknown reason iphones chew through tons of data.

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  2. Switching the proxy servers should help a lot all by itself.
    Last time Tom's Guide compared 4g network speeds, they clocked Cricket average down/up at only 4.5/3.8, versus AT&T 20.8/9.1
    Cricket was slowest by far - nobody else was close.
    Even Straight Talk was a lot faster than Cricket.

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  3. WHAT?? The plan's crippled as is. They will LOSE customers over this if they keep the 8/4 throttle and also de-prioritize. Speaks pretty poorly of the AT&T network too, if they're losing customers AND still can't guarantee 8/4...

    Dennis-is 8 Gbps in the fifth paragraph a typo? Shouldn't it be Mbps (or mbps...I can never tell)

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    1. 8 Gbps was a typo, the throttle is 8 Mbps.

      Mbps and mbps both mean 8 megaBITS per second. MBps is megaBYTES per second.

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    2. " They will LOSE customers over this if they keep the 8/4 throttle and also de-prioritize."

      There's no good alternative other than Verizon which costs $10 or $15 more.


      "Multiple users have reported recently that they were moved to a new email system"

      Who is using Cricket for email???

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  4. dennis what if you join before april 2nd will still be Deprioritization

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  5. Get rid of the proxy, lift the 8 mbps cap, add volte.☺

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  6. I am on Boost and have been deprioritized numerous times and have never seen any change in speed. A lot of people still unfortunately don't know the difference between deprioritization and throttling. Maybe you could do a quick helpful article on that if you have time :)

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    1. On constantly slammed towers, in big cities, there's no difference.

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  7. 89 milliseconds ping, 9 mbps download, 11 upload.

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  8. Better than raising prices.

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  9. Whatever Cricket is doing they need to drop the price of their unlimited data plan. Cricket used to have a promotional 20GB plan for $50 or $60 now the same thing costs $70 when everyone else is lowering their prices. Cricket isn't worth $20 more than MetroPCS or Boost both of which offer unlimited data for $50. MetroPCS in particular will soon be a close competitor to Cricket as the coverage gap closes by the end of the year.

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    1. Cricket is indeed worth $20 more than MetroPCS. That's a fair price for having a much better network.

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    2. Amen to that! Mpcs is horrible;at the end of the year, they'll finally be a little closer to where cricket has been for years. Of course, reality could see less improvement than current plans show.

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    3. Most customers think MetroPCS is a better overall value - they picked Metro vs Cricket 2 to 1.

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    4. "Most customers think MetroPCS is a better overall value - they picked Metro vs Cricket 2 to 1."

      It must have something to do with Metro's head start and the relative prices. Network wise, people pick Cricket's network over Metro's 2 to 1.

      Delete
    5. "MetroPCS in particular will soon be a close competitor to Cricket as the coverage gap closes by the end of the year."

      T-Mobile's own map of native coverage shows huge gaps compared to AT&T (and a massive amount of little swiss cheese holes all over that AT&T doesn't have) by the end of 2017. Something close to parity won't be there for a few years.

      Kudos, though, to T-Mobile for moving in this direction!

      Delete
    6. You can't live in the past forever; trends tell the story. T-Mobile has gained wireless customer from AT&T for the past 4 years. For every 100 people who leave Tmo for ATT, 175-180 people quit ATT for Tmo (2014-2016 porting ratios from annual reports).
      Metro started with more subs in 2013 than Cricket, but they have also added relatively more subs than Cricket since then. The gap has widened. Extra value and the much improved network are the main reasons. Tmo branded prepaid had 19.8M subs at the end of 2016, up 2.5M. AT&T had 13.54M, up 2M. Metro and Cricket are driving that growth, and are both competing strongly.

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    7. Missing from the above is the fact that quarter after quarter, twice as many customers choose AT&T over T-Mobile.

      Little things like 'porting ratios' don't mean anything compared to that.

      This is the past, present AND future.

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    8. 6 years ago AT&T had 3 times as many wireless customers as T-Mobile.
      Now they have fewer than twice as many.
      Nobody can precisely predict the future, but with such a strong trend, T-Mobile is likely to continue to take customers from AT&T as its network improves.
      The 2,500 new stores Tmo is adding this year are not just based on wishful thinking.

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    9. That's a different matter. Opening storefronts like that is brave... like opening camera film development shops was in 2011.

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    10. T-Mobile has a solid business case for more stores. Most of them are going into areas where they did not have good or any native coverage before last year. And Band 12 extends twice as far from each tower, so their coverage is wider now where they already had towers before Band 12 deployment.
      For example, they have no stores in SD, but now have quite a lot of coverage there. SD should get at least 3 stores this year. Big, new areas in AK, CO, MI and TX now have native coverage and got/are getting new stores.

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  10. Funny, I thought the unlimited plans were already subject to deprioritization. I can't imagine they were not always protecting their network. I am ok with deprioritization; it is "random" throttling that is despicable.

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    1. De-prioritizing a throttled service is the most despicable. That's where Cricket seems to be headed.

      Delete
  11. Hey Dennis -- any stories on Cricket adding VoLTE, HD Voice, and Wi-Fi Calling in a few months -- and whether that will trickle up to GoPhone or trickle down to MVNOs?

    http://cricketwireless.mediaroom.com/sayhellotostreammore

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  12. Cricket needs to answer Boost's 4 unlimited lines for $100 or Metro's 2 unlimited lines for $80.

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    1. To answer something from Boost or T-Mobile, Cricket would have to go chop down a lot of its towers.

      Delete
  13. wait a sec... you mean deprioritization is NOT throttling? if it's not the why would the companies even mention it? dennis please explain

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    1. Deprioritization and throttling both slow down data speeds. The main difference is the deprioritization is only supposed to occur when the network is congested.

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    2. If it is worse, I'd just suffer with Cricket. Verizon is over my price threshold, T-Mobile (Metro PCS) hasn't achieved network parity with AT&T yet, and the "slow speed or nothing at all" Boost experience would be unimaginable.

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  14. Already Cricket is not priority than AT&T and other MVNOs. The only better thing for Cricket is coverage. However, this is not true for urban areas.

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    1. Coverage is still king. Phones become glorified iPods without cell data towers to feed them.

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  15. "...The only better thing for Cricket is coverage. However, this is not true for urban areas."

    Saying one carrier has better coverage than another except for areas where they have the same coverage isn't saying much.

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  16. Many boost mobile customers on the $50 unlimited use 250+ gb per month and when deprioritized occurs it is at anytime before or after the 23gb is used. When deprioritization takes place the video streams start and stop for an average of 45 seconds each time. Those with boost mobile 2gb plan are throttled down to approximately 60kbps after the 2gb of high spped data is used. The 60kbps throttled speed is enough to stream audio and use email and reduced size webpages using the opera mini or uc browsers, the chrome browser does not work well with 60kbps throttled speeds. Do not understand why people buy $700 phones and carry them around all day but only have 2-5gb monthly data plans, what use are these phones with throttled speeds?

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  17. Are AT&T Mnvo customers eligible for the Cricket port-in phone deals?
    Also, this will be my first port, from Net10. Can I call Cricket for the port, to avoid all the in store $25 activation fees, etc.? I plan on activating online.

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  18. This will cause them to lose customers

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  19. Does deprioritization only applied to data? Talk and text remains constant?

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  20. Here in Virginia, Tmobile still has very poor coverage. Even in the Georgia Dome, I was able to stream the playoff game with no problems.

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  21. What about Cricket vs a Verizon MVNO, with the 5 mbps throttling?
    With 4G, Cricket will be 4mbps max?

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  22. This is straight from Cricket Wireless' Website - Starting April 2, 2017, Cricket will implement a new network management practice on Cricket's Unlimited Plan. Specifically, if you are on the Unlimited Plan and use more than 22GB of data during any monthly plan cycle, your data speeds may be temporarily slowed during periods of network congestion for the rest of that monthly plan cycle. Cricket will implement this practice beginning April 2, 2017, and continuing during the coming months. Also starting on April 2, 2017, Cricket will begin launching Stream More, a data feature on all plans which helps you save data when watching videos by streaming certain higher-definition videos at standard definition quality, similar to DVD (about 480p). Cricket will begin activating Stream More starting April 2, 2017, and continuing during the coming months. Once activated, you may turn it off or back on at any time. To learn more about when Cricket will turn on the new network management practice and Stream More for you, view Important Information Regarding Data Speed, Usage and Network Management. For more information on Stream More or Cricket's mobile broadband service visit cricketwireless.com/mobilebroadba

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