Cricket Wireless

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Cricket Wireless LLC
  • Wireless telecommunications
FoundedMarch 17, 1999; 20 years ago (1999-03-17)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Area served
United States
Key people
John Dwyer (President)[1]
Mobile phone
ParentLeap Wireless (1999–2014)
AT&T (2014-2017)
AT&T Communications (2017–present)

Cricket Wireless LLC is a prepaid wireless service provider in the United States, a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T Inc. It offers mobile voice, text, and data using parent AT&T's nationwide network. Cricket Wireless was founded in 1999 by Leap Wireless International, Inc. On July 12, 2013, AT&T Inc. agreed to acquire Cricket's parent company Leap Wireless International for $1.2 billion. The merger was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on March 13, 2014,[2] and later that same day, Leap Wireless announced the completion of its acquisition by AT&T.[3]


Typical Cricket retail store in Hillsboro, Oregon

Cricket's first market was Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1999 and through much of its early growth became known as a network focused on small, rural markets.[4]

On September 4, 2007, competing carrier MetroPCS announced a $5.3 billion bid to merge with Leap Wireless.[5] Leap informally rejected the bid less than two weeks later.[6] MetroPCS officially withdrew the bid less than two months later, on November 1, 2007.[7]

Former Cricket Wireless logo, before acquisition by AT&T

On September 17, 2007, Cricket launched Wireless Broadband Service using EV-DO.[8]

On December 12, 2007, Cricket agreed to acquire Hargray Communications Group's wireless telecommunications business.[9]

On April 8, 2008, Cricket launched in Oklahoma City.[10]

On September 29, 2008, Cricket announced that they had entered into a 10-year roaming agreement with MetroPCS covering both companies' existing and future markets. The companies also entered into a spectrum exchange agreement covering licenses in certain markets.[11] On November 13, 2008, Cricket launched "Premium Extended Coverage", a roaming partnership with 14 wireless companies.[12] On February 2009, Cricket launched in Chicago.

On March 10, 2009, Cricket launched in the Philadelphia market, including eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware.[13]

On June 23, 2009, Cricket launched in the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets.[13]

On September 28, 2009, Cricket changed its domain name to "".[13]

On April 13, 2010, Cricket launched Cricket Navigator, a GPS application that offers audible turn-by-turn navigation, hyper-local search and maps.[14]

On August 2010, Cricket and Sprint signed a five-year wholesale agreement (MVNO) which allows Cricket to utilize Sprint's nationwide 3G EVDO network in the U.S.

On August 12, 2010, Cricket was a launch operator for the Kyocera Rio low-cost touch phone.[15]

On May 31, 2012, Cricket announced iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S availability on its network.[16]

On September 5, 2012, electronic retailer RadioShack, in partnership with Leap, launched RadioShack No Contract Wireless, a service powered by Cricket.[17]

On October 21, 2012, Cricket discontinued its daily PayGO plans. [18]

On July 12, 2013, AT&T Inc. agreed to buy Cricket Wireless' parent for $1.2 billion. On March 13, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission approved the acquisition between AT&T and Leap Wireless.[2]

On May 18, 2014, Cricket's website ( and Aio Wireless's website ( were redirected to the new site. This signaled the beginning of operations as the new Cricket. GSM operations for Cricket Wireless began this day as well. All Aio Wireless dealer stores were officially converted to the Cricket brand and the Aio Wireless brand was retired.

On September 24, 2015 Cricket Wireless launched their variants of Apple's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones. Cricket Wireless' advantage is the Cricket Protect insurance plan, which covers users from physical damage, water damage, loss, and theft.[19]

Coverage network[edit]

Prior to its acquisition by AT&T, Cricket's CDMA network used its home network and roaming agreements with Sprint, among other CDMA carriers. However, Cricket's CDMA network was shut down and the spectrum was reframed for use on AT&T's HSPA+ and LTE networks.

Following the acquisition by AT&T, Cricket Wireless released devices that use AT&T's 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE networks. Cricket Wireless users on the "Smart" and "Unlimited" plans can roam in Mexico and Canada at no additional costs.

Former CDMA network service[edit]

Cricket Wireless noted on their old website[20] that CDMA service would be terminated as early as September 2015. Most devices prior to the merger would not be compatible on the GSM network except the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s. Compatible iPhone devices would only require a new SIM card.


STARTTLS stripping attack[edit]

In October 2014, Cricket Wireless (and its parent company, AT&T Inc.) came under scrutiny for intercepting and modifying its customers' email traffic to downgrade and prevent encryption of the conversation and its metadata.[21] An engineer at a digital security and privacy firm, Golden Frog, first noticed the issue in September 2013 via their Aio Wireless connection (later acquired by Cricket).[22] Upon further investigation by the privacy firm in June 2014, Golden Frog determined that Cricket masked the STARTTLS command in email server responses, thereby "putting its customers at serious risk by inhibiting their ability to protect online communications."[22] In October, a Washington Post investigation revealed that "Cricket did not address repeated questions about the issue and did not alert customers, many of whom rely on Cricket as their sole Internet service, that they would not be able to protect their e-mails from prying eyes. AT&T, which absorbed Cricket when it acquired Leap Wireless last spring, did not respond to a request for comment."[21] The EFF also published a technical analysis condemning ISPs like Cricket from tampering with customer internet traffic.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Welch, Chris (March 13, 2014). "FCC approves AT&T's purchase of Leap Wireless, says it's 'in the public interest'". The Verge. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  3. ^ "AT&T/Leap Merger – March 13, 2014". 2014. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  4. ^ Sidener, Jonathan. "Something to talk about". Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  5. ^ Humer, Caroline (2007-09-04). "MetroPCS bids $5.3 billion for Leap Wireless". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
  6. ^ "Leap Rejects MetroPCS Merger Offer". 2007-09-16. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
  7. ^ Dano, Mike (2007-11-01). "Metro ditches bid for Leap". RCR Wireless News. Archived from the original on 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
  8. ^ "Leap Wireless – Media Relations – Press Release" (Press release). 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  9. ^ "Leap Wireless – Media Relations – Press Release" (Press release). Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  10. ^ "Leap Wireless – Media Relations – Press Release" (Press release). Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  11. ^ "Leap Wireless – Media Relations – Press Release" (Press release). Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  12. ^ "Leap Wireless – Media Relations – Press Release" (Press release). 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  13. ^ a b c "Cricket Wireless News and Coverage". Prepaid Reviews. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  14. ^ "Cricket Launches New Navigation Solution". Business Wire. 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  15. ^ Kyocera Rio E3100 Coming Soon! Archived 2012-07-19 at, PhoneWebZ
  16. ^ Moren, Dan (May 31, 2012). "Prepaid carrier Cricket leaps onto iPhone scene". Macworld. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  17. ^ " RadioShack No Contract Wireless confirmed, launches September 5 with exclusive Huawei Mercury Ice", Prepaid Mobile Phone Reviews, 2012-09-04
  18. ^
  19. ^ Cricket Protect Device Insurance Overview
  20. ^ "Cricket CDMA network shutdown scheduled for September 15 has arrived", Prepaid Mobile Phone Reviews, 2015-09-15
  21. ^ a b Scola, Nancy; Soltani, Ashkan (2014-09-28). "Mobile ISP Cricket was thwarting encrypted emails, researchers find". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  22. ^ a b "The FCC Must Prevent ISPs From Blocking Encryption". Golden Frog. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  23. ^ Hoffman-Andrews, Jacob (2014-11-11). "ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2018-06-26.

External links[edit]