While looking at phones compatible with Cricket Wireless last month, we mentioned the intention of the provider to shut down the 3G service. On the matter, the company said all new subscribers won’t be able to activate their lines with the old 3G devices. But then, what will happen to the old (existing) Cricket customers on 3G? Do they have an exemption, and if not, can I put my Cricket SIM card on another phone?
Well, this will be our topic of today, whereby we’ll talk about the love-and-hate relationship between the existing Cricket users and the new compatibility policy. It’s a love-and-hate thing as the shift will bring faster and more reliable service, but then you might lose service if you don’t upgrade.
Needless to say, we’re going to cover everything on switching your Cricket SIM to another phone. So, you’ll also learn what to do if you wanted to use a newer-yet-old device with your cricket service.
Bye Bye 3G, Welcome 4G/5G
First of all, migration from 3G isn’t a bad idea at all. It means Cricket will now have only 4G and 5G networks, both strong networks, to worry about. And as a user, you can now enjoy a network with stable signals and high browsing speeds.
Sadly, however, phasing out of the 3G network, scheduled in February 2022, means 3G devices will also be affected. This is so as the Cricket 3G bands, which have frequencies like 850MHz and 1900MHz, will be limited. And if a carrier can no longer send out these radio signals, your device can’t connect to make calls or use data.
Even so, the existing customers on 3G devices will still be able to continue with their cricket service (for the time being). However, the service will only be available until February 2022 if your device doesn’t support HD voice features. According to Cricket Wireless, however, nothing will change for you if your device is HD Voice-capable. This includes also those BYOD unlocked phones under $50, though most don’t have the feature.
What You Should Know About HD Voice-capable Phones
In a nutshell, HD voice is a wireless communication service under VoLTE (Voice over LTE) technology. Of course, we’re not supposed to use the two terms interchangeably as one involves the use of a higher audio codec whereas the other utilize LTE network. But then, they all revolve around providing crispier voice call service while reducing background noise. So, you can hear the person on the other end of the call in more natural-sounding audio.
When it now comes to our Cricket service, the provider says you can only continue on 3G if you have an HD voice-capable phone. This is more like saying you need at least a 4G phone as the audio technology is currently with this cellular technology and 5G. In case you don’t have one, you’ll have no other option but purchase a new one with the functionality.
Luckily, Cricket provides free cell phones with no credit check if you’re a new customer switching to their network. If you’re an existing customer, they also do have special financing with Affirm and Progressive Leasing. So, you can upgrade your device even without enough cash or a less-impressive credit report.
Can I Put My Cricket SIM Card on Another Phone
Technically, it’s possible to put your Cricket SIM card on another phone. However, it’s not a guarantee you’ll get the service, considering the compatibility requirements for both the device and the network. These requirements are the same ones if you decide to activate your line under the BYOP (bring your phone) program.
These requirements include:
- Unlocked mobile carrier
- Device IMEI compatibility
- HD Voice Support
- Type of SIM card
- Type of the 5G Device
Cricket SIM Card/ Unlocked Carrier Requirements
As you may know, Cricket Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) under the AT&T network. Similar to most virtual networks, it uses GSM (global system for mobile communication) technology, which features SIM cards. As such it’s easier to switch your SIM card from one device to another than CDMA networks that don’t use a SIM card. But again, can I put my cricket SIM card in a MetroPCS phone and it still works?
In the literal sense, yes, you can use your Cricket line with a MetroPCS phone as the carrier is on GSM nowadays. However, your phone must be unlocked for you to continue using your Cricket SIM card.
An unlocked cellphone is one not tied to any particular network that you can use with any GSM network. However, there are carrier-unlocked and factory-unlocked phones, but either of them should work.
Nonetheless, the factory-unlocked devices are usually the best choice as they come from the manufacturer ready to work with any GSM network. So there’s no that probability of losing some functionalities as with a previously carrier-locked device that has been unlocked.
In case you’re not sure if your device is locked or unlocked, you can contact the previous carrier and ask about it. Alternatively, you can get a factory-unlocked model that you can just insert the SIM and make your calls. And considering the many buy now pay later catalogs out there, that shouldn’t be an issue even without money.
Cricket SIM Card/ Device IMEI Compatibility
Besides unlocking the device, the phone you want to put your Cricket SIM has to be compatible with the network too. It’s not all unlocked devices have the hardware and firmware specs that cricket Wireless needs to spread out its frequencies.
In some instances, a device can receive and communicate with some frequency ranges, but not all. This means your phone may be able to function, but not to its highest standard. Also, this will bring the subject of carrier whitelisting, whereby only select devices can access the network/s in question.
If it’s Cricket Wireless, we may say they are whitelisting as you must run your phone on their Device ID (IMEI) checker. Of course, these IMEI checkers don’t always cover all the devices. So, you can contact the carrier if your device isn’t recognized as they might have whitelisted but forgot to update it online.
Cricket SIM Card/ HD Voice Support
As we said earlier, Cricket Wireless will no longer activate all devices, be it phone or data hotspot, that isn’t HD voice-capable. The carrier does have an exception for the old/ existing Cricket subscribers, but they too have only this year. After February 2022, only the devices with HD voice function will have access to the Cricket service.
Therefore, this is the third thing you have to consider when switching your Cricket line to another phone. If you’re not sure about the HD Voice support, you can just look for 4G LTE compatibility or the year the phone was released. Phones that came between 2019 and now shouldn’t be an issue as many operators and manufacturers were already utilizing VoLTE.
Type of the Cricket SIM Card
As other technologies keep on growing, phone manufacturers and network operators aren’t left behind either. For instance, the first SIM cards that came in the early 1990s were the size of a credit card- the size of some current phones. In 1996, the Mini-SIM came, later Micro-SIM, then Nano-SIM and eSIM in the 2010s.
Meanwhile, Cricket Wireless began in 1999, three years after the Mini-SIM was born. So, some of us are lucky to have used all its SIM card designs, namely the Mini (standard) SIM, Micro-SIM, and Nano-SIM.
Therefore, as you look for a phone to put your Cricket SIM card, you’ll have to make sure it uses either of the types of SIM cards.
Luckily, Cricket Wireless does have a Universal SIM card kit that comprises all three sizes. So, you can use about any iOS, Android, or flip phone as long it’s unlocked, IMEI compatible, and HD Voice capable.
Cricket SIM Card/ Type of 5G Device
Lastly, Cricket is a bit picky when it comes to using their 5G network. True, the technology’s what every American needs right now for quick downloads and a broad range of connectivity.
Even so, the 5G network isn’t accessible to all Americans. A provider like Cricket just launched theirs in August 2020, which means some cities are yet to have towers to send the signal.
Moreover, many of the cell phones in the market are not compatible with this network. Then, the ones compatible are yet to be added to the whitelist of Cricket. Hence, one of the main reasons the operator is against the use of 5G devices from other providers.
Therefore, we’ll recommend using a Cricket 5G phone if your SIM card is on the Cricket More plan with 5G access.
Do I Need to Activate My Cricket SIM on the New Phone?
When you buy a brand-new SIM card from the Cricket website, you should be able to activate it there. The activation button will appear when filling out your order and the phone number (any) associated with your order. If you were switching to Cricket from another carrier, you’ll also need to purchase a phone plan before you can begin the activation.
If you bought your Cricket SIM from other retailers like Amazon or Walmart, you’ll need to register the ICCID and IMEI numbers on Cricket Website. It’s simple to do as you just have to follow the onscreen instructions that appear. Once done, you can now purchase the mobile plan you want to use, then insert the SIM card in your phone and start calling.
However, the picture messaging features have to be installed before you can start using them. You can set them either automatically with a one-touch or manually.
In the automatic configuration, you’ll receive two messages after you’ve activated your SIM card. The message can have the option to set up the message settings directly, whereby you’ll just tap the “install” button. Or else as a “configuration message” in the notification tray on top.
If you don’t get any of the two automatic configurations, you’ll have to set up the features manually. It’s also easy to do and shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.
To Set up the Message settings manually:
- Take your phone and tap the settings icon
- Go to the connections submenu and select “Mobile Networks”
- Next, scroll down and Tap “Access Point Names”
- Under “Access Point Names”, click the internet tab and edit settings to match Cricket’s requirements show below
|Access Point Name||Set to|
|Multimedia Message Port:||80|
|APN roaming protocol:||IPv4|
|Turn APN on/off:||ON|
Once done with that, your phone’s now ready to send pictures and video messages.
Key Takeaway: The 5 Best HD Voice-Capable Smartphones and Flip Phones
Here are some phones that will still be functional after Cricket phases out 3G service in February 2022.
|Flip/ Smartphone brand||Special Feature||Cellular Technology||Memory|
|Alcatel QuickFlip||Best of Classic||4G||4GB||Amazon Price|
|Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max||Best of Storage||4G||512GB||Amazon Price|
|Samsung galaxy S20 FE 5G||Best of value||4G & 5G||128GB||Amazon Price|
|Samsung Galaxy A01||Best of Budget||4G||64GB||Amazon Price|
|Motorola G Power||Best of Release||4G||64GB||Amazon price|
At this point, we can conclude that you don’t have to stay offline when your smartphone gets damaged or lost. If you have another GSM phone lying around, you can put your Cricket SIM card and continue enjoying the service. However, the phone you have must be compatible with the network, plus have an unlocked carrier and HD voice functionality.
In case you are using the Cricket More plan with 5G service, remember you can only use the service with 5G-compatible phones. A good example is the iPhone 12 models, Motorola Moto 5G Stylus, and Samsung Galaxy S20 series, A32 5G, and A52 5G. More on that, don’t forget Cricket hasn’t opened up its 5G service for phones from other providers. So, you can only use a 5G device from Cricket.
But, anyway, we hope the article has answered your original question and you’ve managed to use your Cricket SIM again.