Mobile Broadband Information

Revised January 17, 2017

Information About the Network Practices, Data Speeds, Performance Characteristics & Commercial Terms of Cricket's Mobile Broadband Internet Access Service

At Cricket Wireless, we want our customers to have the information they need to fully understand and enjoy the services we offer. To help keep consumers informed about our mobile broadband Internet access service, the Cricket website (cricketwireless.com) describes the wireless services we offer, and we make copies of our Terms and Conditions of Service, and Acceptable Use Policy and other policies available online.

This page provides information about network practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms applicable to our mobile broadband Internet access services, consistent with the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet rules. This information will help consumers make informed choices about how to use those services, and will assist providers of Internet applications, content and services in developing, marketing and maintaining their Internet offerings.

Nothing in this document changes your rights and obligations, or ours, under our Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy or Privacy Policy.  This document and the information contained in it are provided for informational purposes only and may be changed at any time.


NETWORK PRACTICES 

How does Cricket manage congestion with respect to its Mobile broadband Internet access service?

Cricket strives to provide a high-quality Internet experience for all of our customers.  The Internet consists of multiple interconnected networks and most Internet end points (such as websites and other content providers) are not directly connected to Cricket's network.  Accordingly, Cricket must connect to and exchange traffic with other networks to provide its subscribers the capability of uploading data to, or downloading data from, Internet end points that are connected to those networks.  Cricket, through affiliates and third-parties, has entered into commercially negotiated agreements to exchange traffic with other networks (and the networks with which those networks are connected) on mutually agreeable terms.  Although Cricket works diligently to ensure that it has sufficient capacity to support the data traffic of our customers, the links Cricket and other networks use to exchange such traffic may occasionally become congested.  Consistent with its arrangements with those other networks, Cricket may establish or expand the connections between its network and other networks, but only on mutually agreeable terms.  If Cricket is unable to reach agreement on terms of interconnection or network expansion with these other networks, it could affect the performance of Cricket's service.  Cricket does not guarantee that it will establish or expand the connections between its network and other networks, or that subscribers will be able to upload data to or download data from Internet end points connected to other networks at any particular speed. 

In addition, like the other networks that make up the Internet, Cricket's is a shared network, which means that the transmission links and other network resources used to provide broadband services are shared among its subscribers.  Cricket manages this network for the benefit of all users based on a variety of factors, and our technical expertise.  Nonetheless, temporary congestion may occur when a large number of customers in a concentrated area access the network at the same time or when some customers consume a very large amount of network capacity during busy periods, such as at stadium events, during peak usage times, or during planned network maintenance activity.  Cricket therefore does not guarantee that subscribers will be able to upload or download data at any particular speed.

Does Cricket favor certain Internet applications by blocking, throttling or modifying particular protocols on its mobile broadband Internet access service?

No, Cricket does not favor certain Internet applications by blocking, throttling or modifying particular protocols, protocol ports, or protocol fields in ways not prescribed by the protocol standards. However, in response to a specific security threat against our network or our customers, Cricket may occasionally need to limit the flow of traffic from certain locations or take other appropriate actions.

What types of security practices does Cricket use on its network?

Cricket takes the security of our customers and our network very seriously. We proactively monitor our network to guard against a wide range of security threats, including viruses, botnets, worms, distributed denial of service attacks, SPAM, and other harmful activity.

We use a variety of network tools to monitor our network to ensure its stability and functionality, to protect the network against threats, and for other operational purposes.  We store the information we gather through this monitoring for as long as we have a business purpose to maintain it.  The Cricket Privacy Policy describes how we collect, use and share this information.

If we detect a security threat we will typically attempt to isolate the threat and prevent it from spreading across the network. We may use a variety of security measures to prevent the spread of a threat, which may include blocking malicious or unlawful traffic, limiting the flow of traffic over some portions of the network, or taking other actions to address the threat. For example, we block traffic originating outside our network that could transfer malicious or disruptive communications. We attempt to limit those actions to the specific portions of the network or customer base impacted by the security threat and for only as long as necessary to mitigate the threat.

Does Cricket restrict the types of devices that customers can use with its mobile broadband Internet access service?

Cricket customers may use compatible 3G or 4G smartphones with our mobile broadband Internet access service, so long as the devices do not harm our network or other users.  These devices must also be used in a manner consistent with our Terms and Conditions of Service, Acceptable Use Policy and other policies.  Consumers will need to ensure that the device they wish to attach is FCC-approved and compatible with the technology used in our mobile network.

What does unlimited data provide?

Customers with unlimited data plans have the comfort of knowing that, no matter how much data they use in a billing cycle, they will pay a single monthly flat rate. That is the essential promise of an unlimited data plan.  Unlimited does not mean that you can use Cricket's wireless data service in any way that you choose or for any prohibited uses, and that if you use your unlimited data plan in any manner that is prohibited, Cricket can limit, interrupt, suspend or cancel your service. Any unlimited plan we offer is subject to our Terms and Conditions of Service at cricketwireless.com/terms, including the restrictions against prohibited uses and misuse and abuse of our Services and Devices, any reasonable network management practices, and our Acceptable Use Policy at cricketwireless.com/aup


NETWORK OPTIMIZATION

Cricket has adopted the following network optimization practices designed to provide a consistent, high-quality service experience for all of our customers using our mobile broadband Internet access service. These optimization practices have the added benefit of reducing the amount of data customers transmit, which helps preserve their monthly high-speed data allowances. To maximize these benefits, optimization is active at all times for the data traffic described below. Cricket does not optimize data traffic based on the particular source or content of the traffic or the specific application used to access the traffic. Additionally, these optimization practices do not apply to encrypted video or live video chat, nor do they affect videos or images that a customer sends or receives through a messaging application or as an attachment to an email.

Video Pacing

What is pacing? Pacing, also called buffer tuning, involves transmitting video in increments to the buffer on a customer's device, rather than immediately filling the entire buffer as fast as possible. Once the buffer receives the initial increment of video, the customer can begin viewing the video while the remaining segments download in a just-in-time fashion in the background.

How do we use it? Cricket uses pacing with all video delivered over a non-encrypted HTTP connection and transmitted in any of three standard video formats (Flash, MP4 and 3GP), regardless of the source of the video, the application used to view the video or the content of the video itself. These industry standard video protocols are commonly used by a wide range of video service providers, accounting for most of the unencrypted video transmitted over mobile networks.

Why do we use it? Because the customer's device only receives the portion of the overall video that will be viewed next, rather than the entire video, pacing reduces the amount of data transmitted on the network at a given time and thus the potential for congestion. The reduced network load can result in video playback that is smoother and starts more quickly. In addition, if the customer abandons the video before viewing its entire contents, the unviewed segments of the video will not have been transmitted to the customer, and the customer will not have unnecessarily used his or her high-speed data allowance on unwatched videos.

Caching

What is caching? Caching involves storing copies of frequently-accessed data on the network, which both shortens the distance that the content must travel to reach our customers and also allows Cricket to more efficiently use our network resources. Cricket's caching practice is compliant with RFC 2616, the industry-standard for caching requirements established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

How do we use it? All web page components under 2MB in size are stored in the cache the first time they are accessed by one of our customers. Video is cached if the video is (i) frequently requested by users and (ii) in an industry standard video format that can be cached (Flash, MP4, Apple HTTP Live Streaming Video, or Microsoft Smooth Streaming Video). Web pages and video are cached regardless of their source or content, or the applications used to view them. Web pages and video are cycled out of the cache when not accessed regularly or when network storage limits are reached.

Why do we use it? Caching reduces the distance that Cricket must carry data over the network, which in turn enables faster webpage and video downloads for customers and more efficient use of network resources.

Video Transcoding

What is video transcoding? Video is typically transmitted over the Internet in a format that involves compression of the underlying video content, such as MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. Transcoding converts video content to newer and more efficient formats. For example, transcoding enables a video stored in the older MPEG-4 Part 2 format to be converted to a newer, more bandwidth-efficient format such as H.264, which yields a smaller file size.

How do we use it? Cricket applies transcoding to all video delivered over a non-encrypted HTTP connection and transmitted in any of three standard video formats (Flash, MP4 and 3GP), regardless of the source or content of the video, or the application used to view it. Cricket, working with its optimization supplier, strives to transcode video to provide a high quality user experience where the average consumer should not notice a difference between the source video and the transcoded video.

Why do we use it? Transcoding allows Cricket to convert video into formats that are optimized for efficient transmission over our wireless network. Transcoding also yields a smaller video file size. By reducing the size of video files, Cricket enables our customers to experience faster video downloads while using a smaller portion of their high-speed data allowance to view the videos.

Image Compression

What is image compression? Image compression reduces the file size of web page images sent over the network by removing data from the image file that is non-essential when viewing the image on a mobile device.

How do we use it? Cricket compresses all images that are embedded in web pages in either of two industry standard formats (JPEG and GIF), regardless of the source or content of the web page or the application used to view it. Cricket, working with its optimization supplier, strives to compress web page images to provide a high quality user experience where the average consumer should not notice a difference between the source image and the compressed image.

Why do we use it? By reducing image file sizes through image compression, Cricket utilizes network resources more efficiently and enables our customers to experience faster-loading web pages while also using a smaller portion of their high-speed data allowance to view the web pages.



PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS

What factors affect the performance of my mobile broadband Internet access service?

Your mobile broadband Internet access service performance can be affected by a wide range of factors, many of which are beyond our control. The capabilities of the server with which you are communicating, the capacity of the network to which that server is attached, the distance and number of routers (or "hops") between your device and the other Internet end point you are contacting, and general congestion on the Internet are common factors that can affect performance, regardless of your service type. Other factors include, but are not limited to, your proximity to a cell site, the capacity of the cell site, the number of other users connected to the same cell site, the surrounding terrain, use inside a building or a moving vehicle, radio frequency interference, the capabilities of your device, and the applications you use. In addition, Cricket has designed its wireless services to ensure that our customers receive a high-quality voice experience during simultaneous voice and data sessions, which may affect data performance, including but not limited to a temporary reduction in speed to minimize the likelihood of dropped calls.

Where can I find information about the speed and latency of my mobile broadband Internet access service?


Because of all the different factors that can affect the performance of your mobile broadband Internet access service, Cricket does not guarantee specific levels of speed or latency for its wireless services. Cricket also does not offer mobile broadband Internet access service in different speed tiers. The performance you can expect to receive from the services we offer is described below.

Speed

The term "speed" is commonly used as a shorthand way to describe the capacity at which a particular mobile broadband Internet access service can transmit data. This capacity is typically measured in the number of kilobits or megabits that can be transmitted in one second (Kbps or Mbps). Some applications like email or basic web browsing do not require a substantial amount of speed to function optimally, while other activities like transferring large data files can be performed faster with higher-speed services. Your speed, at any given time, may not be suitable for some applications, particularly those involving real-time, high bandwidth uses such as streaming video or video conferencing.  

Latency

Latency, also known as delay, is the amount of time from when a data packet is sent to when it is received. For broadband Internet access services, latency is usually expressed as the round-trip time in milliseconds (ms) that it takes for a data packet to travel between two end points on the Internet (from point A to point B and then back to point A). Some applications, such as email, can tolerate a substantial amount of latency without any noticeable impact on the application's performance, while other applications, such as real-time video conferencing, require lower latency to function properly.

Based on real-life data, Cricket's consumers can expect to receive the following download (DL) speeds, upload (UL) speeds, and latency subject to the performance-limiting factors described above (the range reported is from the 25th to the 75th percentile, which means that the 25th percentile lower bound is the value below which 25% of the test readings were, and the 75th percentile upper bound is the value below which 75% of the test readings were):

Speeds & Latency
     DL Speed (Mbps)    
 UL Speed (Mbps)      
 Latency (ms)     
3G 2-4 0.8-1 126-195
4G 1-4 0.5-1 107-177
LTE  4-9 2-10 84-156

Detailed download speed, upload speed, and latency performance per Cellular Market Area (CMA) can be found here.


How does Cricket manage congestion with respect to its mobile broadband Internet access service?


We want to provide a high-quality Internet experience for all of our customers and our monthly feature phone and smart phone rate plans offer unlimited data with a fixed amount of high-speed data access. Cricket's $30, $40, $50, and $60 plans include a 1 GB, 2.5 GB, 8 GB, and 10 GB high-speed data access allowance, respectively. Cricket's $70 plan includes unlimited high-speed data access. For our mobile broadband Internet services, we've developed a process to reduce the data download throughput speed experienced by Cricket customers who exceed the high-speed data access usage thresholds pre-established for each plan.  For example, our $50 plan offers 8 gigabytes of high-speed data access with reduced speeds after the usage threshold is met. 

This means that if you run out of high-speed data access in a given month, your download access speeds will be reduced to a maximum of 128 kbps for the remainder of your month of service unless you purchase additional high-speed data access for the remainder of your month of service. But once your next month of service begins, you will once again have access to download speeds up to 8 Mbps with our LTE service or up to 4 Mbps on our 4G HSPA+ service. Using Wi-fi can help you avoid reduced speeds. Speeds are not reduced while connected via Wi-Fi, and data activity over Wi-Fi does not count toward the high-speed data usage threshold.

Commercial Terms

Where can I find the prices and other fees that apply to Cricket's mobile broadband Internet access service?


Descriptions of the prices and fees applicable to Cricket's mobile broadband Internet access service are available at the following links:

Where can I find the Terms of Service, and the Acceptable Use Policy that apply to Cricket's mobile broadband Internet access service?

The Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy applicable to Cricket's mobile broadband Internet access services are available on the Cricket website at the following links:

Does Cricket have a privacy policy for its mobile broadband Internet access service?

Yes. At Cricket, we take our customers' privacy very seriously. We have a comprehensive Privacy Policy that identifies and describes the way Cricket uses and protects the information we collect about customers and users. You can view Cricket's Privacy Policy at cricketwireless.com/privacy.

Where can I get assistance if I have a concern or need more information about my Cricket mobile broadband Internet access service?

If you have questions or concerns about your Cricket mobile broadband Internet access service, please contact us at 1-800-CRICKET (274-2538) or by dialing 611 from your mobile phone.