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Cricket CDMA Shutdown Begins - Some Migrating Customers Getting a 99¢ Galaxy S4

Cricket Wireless began shutting down its legacy CDMA network March 15. The first markets to go dark are Washington, DC; Little Rock, Fayetteville and Fort Smith Akansas; Wilmington Delaware; Chicago; Northern Illinois; South Bend IN; Baltimore MD; Atlantic City, NJ; Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse NY; and Philadelphia PA.

Customers in the above markets will lose service on their first bill cycle date after Mar 14 unless they migrate to Cricket's GSM service on the AT&T network. Cricket has been calling and sending text messages to customers in the affected markets letting them know that they need to go to a Cricket store to migrate.

Most migrating Cricket CDMA customers will need a new GSM phone. The only ones who don't are iPhone 4s, 5, 5c and 5s users who just need a new SIM, which is available for free to affected customers at Cricket stores.

For non-iPhone customers, Cricket is giving migrating customers discounted and in some cases free phones. CDMA feature phone users get a free GSM feature phone. Smartphone users get a credit toward the price of a new phone and Cricket will also take back their old phone for additional credit toward a new phone. It's not clear how much these credits will be but hopefully they will be enough to cover the cost of a replacement phone comparable with the user's current CDMA phone. Cricket is waiving activation fees for migrating customers

At least some migrating customers are getting a Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE Android phone for 99¢. Cricket has sent texts to eligible customers directing them to a web page where they can order the GS4 for 99¢. I don't know what the criteria are for the 99¢ GS4 offer. I suspect it's limited to customers with smartphones on the higher priced plans.

In addition to new phones, migrating customers will need to switch to a current Cricket GSM plan. The 99¢ GS4 offer requires the "Basic" plan or better.

Plan NameMonthly PriceHi-Speed Data Before Throttling1Allowed devices
Talk & Text$25noneBasic phones & BYOP SIMs
Basic$40 ($35 with autopay)2.5 GBAny
Smart$50 ($45 with autopay)5 GBAny
Pro$60 ($55 with autopay)10 GBAny
Advanced 2$60 ($55 with autopay)20 GBLTE capable phones only
1 High-Speed data is throttled to a maximum of 8 Mbps for LTE data and 4 Mbps for HSPA+. After the high-speed data cap is reached speed is further throttled to about 128 Kbps. Additional high-speed data is available for $10 for 1GB good for a month.
2 The Advanced plan is a limited time promotion ending April 9, 2015. Users who activate during the promotional period can keep the plan definitely.

The following markets are scheduled to migrate in May and June: Wichita KS; Albuquerque and Las Cruces NM; Las Vegas NV; Oklahoma City and Tulsa OK.

The remaining Cricket CDMA markets will migrate in August and Septemper, 2015 with the shutdown of Cricket CDMA expected to be complete by mid-September.

Sources: Cricket, FierceWireless, HowardForums

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  1. 99 Cent Galaxy S4 Offer applies only to eligible phone numbers that received an Original SMS.

  2. Good for Cricket! Down with CDMA and their restrictive nonsense!

    1. Carrier locked GSM handsets on mutually incompatible frequency bands are hardly nonsense-free.

    2. Yaaaaa free locked gsm handsets (sarcasm).

    3. Holy Moley, lighten up on the locked handsets thing. Would you expect a carrier to give or sell you an unlocked phone? (Here's your new phone, sir. Now take it to our competition.) If you want an unlocked phone, you can buy one that way somewhere else or just have your locked phone unlocked by a third party. Not that hard or restrictive.

  3. The CDMA Cricket users seem to have been hosed right and left. This $0.99 recent flagship phone seems like a GOOD thing, though.

  4. Cricket Wireless is offering 99 cent SIMs for those who Bring Their Own AT&T and/or unlocked GSM phone. Offer expires 7/9/15.

  5. Cricket Wireless starting today, Friday 4/10/15 is now offering the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime for $179.99. Cricket is first U.S. Carrier to offer this device. it is a high-powered 4G LTE smartphone.

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