Mobile Broadband Information

Revised February 26, 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 (www.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 whether to purchase and 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 

Does Cricket limit data usage? Does Cricket provide any tools to help customers monitor and control their data usage?

We have developed data plans for our mobile broadband Internet access services so that our customers can choose from a variety of rate plans that best reflect their own usage levels. Customers can monitor and control their data usage through the online View Data Usage tool at My Account (www.cricketwireless.com/myaccount) and through the myCricket app. Cricket caps download speeds on all its rate plans at 8Mbps (LTE)/4Mbps (4G). Our monthly rate plans offer unlimited data with a fixed amount of high-speed data access: $30 (1 GB), $40 (3 GB), $50 (8 GB) and $60 (12 GB). Cricket's Unlimited Plan (including promotionally priced versions) provides unlimited high-speed data access. High-speed data access allows a customer to experience download speeds up to a maximum of 8 Mbps for compatible 4G LTE devices and 4 Mbps for compatible 4G devices subject to the Congestion Management network practice discussed below.

For those plans with a limited amount of high-speed data access, we've developed a process to reduce the customer's data download throughput speed once the customer exceeds the high-speed data access usage threshold for the customer's plan. In that situation, the customer may continue to consume data at no extra charge, but at significantly lower speeds when connected to the cellular network. Specifically, after a customer uses their available high speed data allotment in a month of service, the customer's service over the cellular network will transmit data at a maximum of 128kbps for the remainder of the monthly plan cycle unless the customer purchases additional high-speed data access for the remainder of the month of service. Once a customer's speeds are limited, the customer's connection over the cellular network should still allow viewing a web page or checking email. Bandwidth-intensive activities, including audio and video streaming, picture and video messaging, select apps and services, as well as other usage will be impacted and may not be fully functional. But once the next month of service begins, the customer 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 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.

We will notify customers during each monthly plan cycle when their data usage reaches 75% and 100% of their monthly high speed data allotment so that they are aware of their amount of data usage and can make adjustments to avoid slower speeds. When connected to a Wi-Fi network, the customer's speed will not be impacted.

Starting on April 2, 2017, Cricket will begin rolling out Stream More, which will be another way we will help our customers manage their data usage. Stream More is a feature that will be offered on all our data access plans. Stream More allows customers to watch more video over our wireless network while using less data by streaming certain high definition video at standard definition quality, similar to DVD (about 480p). Stream More requires a compatible device and, once activated by Cricket on a customer's account, the customer can turn it off and back on at any time via the customer's online account or the myCricket app. Stream More may not be able to recognize all video content, and any unrecognized higher resolution video will continue to stream at its normal speed and resolution. Content providers can opt out of Stream More, in which case their video content will stream at their normal speed.

Cricket will activate Stream More for individual customers starting April 2, 2017, and continue doing so during the coming months. If on or after April 2, 2017, you activate service with a white SIM card or see the symbol below on your phone packaging, Stream More will automatically take effect upon activation.

SIM card      black dot

Otherwise, we will send you two text messages about Stream More before we turn it on and a third message on the day we turn it on. We expect to notify you before October 2017.

How does Cricket manage network congestion for 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 customer 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 data 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 network 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.

Starting on April 2, 2017, Cricket will implement an additional network management practice we will use to manage our network resources ("Congestion Management"). Congestion Management may affect certain customers on our Unlimited Plan (including promotionally priced versions) that provides unlimited high-speed data access. Specifically, if a customer on the Unlimited Plan exceeds 22 GB of data usage in his or her monthly plan cycle, he or she may experience reduced data speeds and increased latency during periods of congestion as compared to other customers using the same cell site. As always, even when subject to network management practices, customers on our Unlimited Plan 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 access plan. After exceeding 22 GB of data usage, reduced speeds and increased latency may cause web sites to load more slowly or affect the performance of data-heavy activities such as video streaming or interactive gaming. However, customers on the Unlimited Plan will experience reduced speeds and increased latency only if he or she has already exceeded his or her 22 GB data usage threshold during their monthly plan cycle and uses data at a cell site experiencing network congestion at the same moment. As soon as the congestion at the cell site abates, or if the customer's session migrates to an uncongested cell site, speeds and latency are not affected. In addition, this network management practice adjusts dynamically to address the amount of congestion, which can start and stop over a very short time period (often measured in fractions of a second), further minimizing any customer impact. Because the amount of congestion at a cell site can vary significantly, the performance impact for the affected customer may also vary significantly, but such impact will last only as long as the site is congested.

Cricket will notify customers on its Unlimited Plan during each monthly plan cycle when their data usage exceeds 75% of the pre-established data threshold (16.5GB of the 22 GB threshold) so they can adjust their usage to avoid potential, temporary reductions of their data speeds during the remainder of that plan cycle.

Starting on April 2, 2017, Cricket will begin implementing Congestion Management for individual customers and continue doing so during the coming months. If you are on Cricket's Unlimited Plan (including promotionally priced versions) and have a white SIM card or see the symbol below on your phone packaging, Congestion Management will automatically take effect on April 2, 2017.

SIM card      black dot

Otherwise, if you are on the Unlimited Plan, we will send you two text messages about Congestion Management before this change occurs and a third message the day it is effective. We expect to notify you before October 2017.

Another reasonable network management practice we will employ to use our network resources more efficiently is Stream More, discussed in more detail above, which is a feature that will be offered on all of our wireless plans that include data access. Stream More allows customers to watch more video over our wireless network while using less data by streaming certain high definition video at standard definition quality, similar to DVD (about 480p).

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 Cricket authorized 3G or 4G basic phones, smartphones, or tablets 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.

Does Cricket employ any network optimization practices?

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

Pacing, also called buffer tuning, involves transmitting video in segments to a customer's device, rather than immediately sending the entire video as fast as possible. Once the phone receives the initial segment of video, the customer can begin viewing the video while the remaining segments download in a just-in-time fashion in the background. 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 network 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, thus helping conserve the customer's high-speed data allowance. 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.

Caching

Caching involves storing copies of frequently-accessed data on the network. This shortens the distance the content must travel to reach our customers, thereby enabling faster webpage and video downloads, 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). 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. Cricket is phasing out this technology by the end of 2017.

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. 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. Cricket may transcode certain 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 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. Cricket is phasing out this technology by the end of 2017.

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. Reducing image file sizes helps Cricket use 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.

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 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.

 

PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS

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

All Cricket plans have download speeds up to a maximum of 8 Mbps for compatible 4G LTE devices and 4 Mbps for compatible 4G devices. Our monthly tiered rate plans offer unlimited data with a fixed amount of high-speed data access: $30 (1 GB), $40 (3 GB), $50 (8 GB) and $60 (12 GB). On these tiered rate plans, once you exhaust your high speed data access allotment, your service over the cellular network will transmit data at a maximum of 128kbps for the remainder of the monthly plan cycle unless you purchase additional high-speed data access for the remainder of the month of service.

In addition, 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 connected, 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 data 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 (meaning quicker round trip time) 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

*Test results may reflect the fact that download speeds can briefly exceed the download speed cap of 8 Mbps for LTE and 4 Mbps for 4G services.

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

 

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 and Conditions of Service, and the Acceptable Use Policy that apply to Cricket's mobile broadband Internet access service?

The Terms and Conditions 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 www.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.