- Google Fi and Cricket Wireless are two popular options for consumers in the United States.
- Google Fi offers excellent coverage across the United States, with strong 5G coverage and useful features like 24/7 customer support and spam call blocking.
- Cricket Wireless, owned by AT&T, also provides excellent coverage coast to coast and offers a wide range of plans and pricing options.
- Google Fi is cheaper than Cricket Wireless, especially for unlimited data plans, but Cricket offers discounts for multi-month plans.
- Google Fi has a wider selection of devices, including budget-friendly smartphones and premium devices, while Cricket Wireless offers more affordable phones and new iPhones.
Everyone is familiar with major carriers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. While they have budget-friendly plans, their services aren’t designed for it. Google Fi vs. Cricket Wireless are more comparable in that regard, and they are two of the more popular options for consumers in the States.
Both companies have excellent coverage, but there are significant differences in key areas like pricing and device selection. Our guide will break down the differences between Google Fi and Cricket Wireless so you can decide which service is the best fit for your lifestyle.
Google Fi vs. Cricket Wireless: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Google Fi||Cricket Wireless|
|Plan Costs||Starting at $20 per month||Starting at $30 per month|
|Unlimited Calls and Texts||Yes||Yes|
Google Fi vs. Cricket Wireless: What’s the Difference?
Google was founded a year before Cricket, although they didn’t get into the wireless game until 2015. While Google Fi got off to a slow start, it’s become a choice for millions interested in a plan from an MVNO.
AT&T owns Cricket Wireless, so they have just as much backing as Google Fi and the carrier networks they rely on. Which is better? To figure that out, you have to take a closer look at what each carrier provides and their pricing.
Do you live in an urban area or somewhere where cellular reception is already spotty? That’s the first thing to consider when thinking about what coverage you’ll get from either service. While they technically don’t own their own towers, the companies they have very different coverage.
If you live in a city or an area with great service, this area is fairly even. The exception is if you travel, which is where each carrier’s coverage map comes into play. Coverage is consistent, although each company has weak areas across the United States.
T-Mobile handles Google Fi service, while Cricket relies on AT&T’s towers. If you’ve used either service, you will know exactly what to expect from Google Fi or Cricket. You shouldn’t have trouble making calls anywhere in the continental U.S., but you may have to deal with 4G or lower data speeds in certain areas.
Plans and Pricing
With pricing, Google Fi is cheaper across the board. The difference is notable, although something Cricket mitigates with their multi-month plans to a degree. Both companies have unlimited talk and text, so it all boils down to data.
The cheapest unlimited data plan from Google Fi is $40 a month. You’ll pay $55 a month from Cricket for unlimited data. That’s the price of Google’s Unlimited Plus plan, which comes with better extras. Google Fi’s Flexible plans are also better than Cricket’s Flexi plans by a significant margin.
While Google beats Cricket with regular pricing, you can get unlimited data from Cricket at $30 a month if you pay upfront. Their multi-month plan is cheaper at 6 and 12 months than Google Fi and the same price with a 3-month prepay plan.
If you have a smartphone you plan to use with either service, this is another area that’s a tie. Otherwise, it’s a mixed bag, depending on two factors. Which operating system do you plan to use, and how much do you want to spend?
Cricket has a fantastic range of affordable handsets. There are a half-dozen free phones available at any time, along with just as many that are under $50. They also have a few feature phones and carry devices from big brands like Samsung, Motorola, and Apple. You can buy a brand new iPhone from Cricket, although you can’t get the latest flagship from Samsung.
Google Fi doesn’t carry the iPhone but has the best Android smartphones currently available. You can buy phones that fold and flip, but there are plenty of affordable devices as well. Their selection isn’t as large as Crickets, but the overall selection is much better. With that in mind, what’s available from these carriers can change at any time. Take an in-depth look at the specific information for each of these carriers below.
Google Fi Wireless
Google Fi sprang into existence back in 2015. Initially, it was only available for Nexus users by invitation and tied directly to Google’s devices. That’s changed, and so has availability. Users no longer have to wait to try out the company’s service, which runs through T-Mobile’s network.
That means you’ll have excellent coverage across the United States, especially on the East Coast. The carrier’s 5G coverage is strong, although some areas in the central and western U.S. are stuck with 4G LTE. While you’ll need to choose a plan, everyone who subscribes can look forward to some useful features.
Every plan comes with 24/7 customer support, spam call blocking, and content controls. Calls and texts are unlimited (within the U.S.), and there are a number of built-in family features. That includes content filters and family location sharing through Maps and Google Family Link.
Google Fi Plans and Pricing
There are three plans available through Google Fi. If you don’t use much data but love to talk and text, the Flexible plan is an interesting option. These plans include unlimited calls and texts within the coverage area, but you’ll only pay for the data you’ll use. It’s $20 per person plus $10 per gigabyte of data.
You’ll get a discount for adding someone to your plan, but the Google Fi Simply Unlimited plan is the best choice for heavy data users. It’s $80 for two, or $40 each, with unlimited data and 5GB of hotspot tethering. International texts and calls are included with this plan from Google Fi. At $55 each or $110 for two people, the Unlimited Plus plan is the most expensive.
You get everything included with the Simply Unlimited tier but unlimited tethering. The data you share with tablets is also unlimited, and you can use that data in more places around the world. YouTube Premium and Google One storage are included with this plan. Google also has a try Fi for free program that allows users to test their coverage for 7-days without commitment.
Google Fi Device Selection
The devices you can pick up with a Google Fi subscription vary throughout the year. There are typically more than a dozen devices to choose from at any time. That includes budget-friendly smartphones and premium devices normally reserved for larger carriers.
You can get the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 from Google Fi, the Z Flip5, and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. There are plenty of Pixels to choose from as well, including the Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel Fold. On the cheaper side, there are devices like the Moto G Stylus, Moto G Power, and Galaxy A14. What you won’t find on their site are any devices from Apple for obvious reasons.
After you sign up with Google Fi, you can purchase select watches and accessories through the carrier. You can also bring your own device, including an iPhone. All of the phones sold through Google are unlocked, and financing is available.
Cricket is one of the older and more well-known prepaid cellular services in the United States. They had a slow rollout in the late 90s before expanding considerably with the rise of smartphones. Cricket is currently owned by AT&T, which means users will rely on that carrier’s network.
You’ll also get excellent coverage from Cricket coast to coast, with some exceptions. Data can take a hit when you zoom in on the coverage map. AT&T’s coverage is solid, but you’ll find some gaps in coverage depending on your area.
Cricket subscribers can look forward to HD voice and Wi-Fi calling with compatible devices along with Cricket Call Defense. This service helps keep spam calls to a minimum. They also provide rebates to consumers who qualify for the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
Cricket Wireless Plans and Pricing
One of the nice things about Cricket is the number of plans and pricing options available through the carrier. While they can seem overwhelming, they have something for everyone. That includes users who don’t mind signing up for a longer plan through 3, 6, and 12-month unlimited plans.
These deals are “online” only, and can save up to $300 if you’re willing to pay for your phone plan in advance. Cricket also has a flexible plan, allowing users to pay for what they need. You can get 5GB of data for $30 or double the data for 10 more dollars. If you need unlimited data, they have that covered as well.
Their unlimited plan is $55 a month for one line, while Unlimited+ bundles cloud storage and the ad-supported version of Max for $60 a month. All plans include unlimited talk, text, and picture messages within the U.S. Cricket also offers a way to try their service through a 14-day trial.
Cricket Wireless Device Selection
As one of the older prepaid carriers, Cricket has a wide range of devices to choose from. There’s a price point for everyone, including people whose budget is tight. There are a number of free phones like the Galaxy A14, Motorola Moto G 2023, Icon 4, and TCL 30Z.
Affordable devices make up a large part of their catalog, which includes phones that range from free to $49.99. If you need more power, you will not be disappointed as long as you like iOS. The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max is available along with the Pro, Plus, and older models of the iPhone.
Unfortunately, that’s as far as their premium offerings go at the moment. There are no flexible or folding devices available through Cricket unless you bring your own. The best Android handset from Cricket is currently the Galaxy S23 FE.
Cricket Wireless vs. Google Fi: 4 Must-Know Facts
- Cricket Wireless provides customers with free spam prevention features.
- Google Fi has an impressive selection of premium smartphones available to purchase.
- Cricket is one of the cheapest prepaid carriers through their multi-month plans.
- Google Fi has features designed for parents to keep things kid-friendly.
Google Fi vs. Cricket Wireless: Which One Is Better?
This may seem like a tale of two similar carriers, but there are clear differences every consumer should be aware of. Fi is a far better choice if you plan to pay monthly and don’t want to shell out money in advance.
They also have a wider selection of devices overall, outside of the iPhone. Cricket has more affordable phones and new iPhones, but is more expensive unless you plan to pay upfront. It’s cheaper than Google Fi if you choose their multi-month plans.
Coverage is a toss-up unless you’re in a rural area and already experience difficulties with cellular service. For most people, Google Fi will be the best choice, while Cricket Wireless is still geared toward the budget-friendly crowd.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©metamorworks/Shutterstock.com.