Flashed My Smartphone to Cricket Unlimited Prepaid Wireless!
So I flashed my non-Cricket smartphone to Cricket not too long ago, and I wanted to share my experience. First, it’s not a cheap experience. The dealer that I went to charged me $50 to flash the phone, and $15 to do the ESN swap. Really, how hard is it to swap an ESN?! Anyway, partially because I really wanted to use my old smartphone on Cricket, and partially because I wanted to see if it would work(!), I went ahead with it.
The dealer told me it would take some time to flash, so I left it with them for half a day. I don’t know how long they actually spent on it, though they did tell me it would take a couple of hours. Anyway, when I picked it up, it was done.
They initially told me that data would be 1X only (i.e. SLOW speed), however, it’s actually 3G and is displayed on the phone as “cricKet 3G”. That was a pleasant surprise. As I have another phone with a larger screen that I mostly use for data, I wasn’t particularly concerned, but it was nice to have anyway. For updating my calendar and checking emails, 1X really is fine I suppose.
They also told me that MMS wouldn’t work. i.e. text messages with pictures or videos. When I was researching the flashing process, MMS not working was a common theme, so I expected it. I do send and receive a lot of pics via SMS, but because I don’t use this phone as my primary phone, again, I wasn’t too concerned. IF it were my only phone though, I don’t think this would be acceptable to me. I guess I could use email instead, but text messaging is often better because it’s more instant.
I later talked to a guy at a Cricket
store and he told me that flashed phones aren’t guaranteed by Cricket to have service everywhere either. So far I’ve had no coverage issue, and voice calls are working great. My calendar, contacts, and emails sync perfectly, and text messaging works great (just no MMS of course).
Overall, I would say that I’m happy with having this phone flashed to Cricket’s unlimited service, and it’s really great that they have this option available at all. Many carriers (ex. Virgin, Boost, Virgin, etc.) don’t support flashed phones at all, so you’re completely out of luck. It was still cheaper than buying a new phone with Cricket, and I’m not crazy about their available smarphones anyway. The Zio is awful, the Optimus is uninspiring, the Ascend 2 is much better than the original but still a little slow, and the Indulge’s slide-out keyboard is actually very hard to use because the buttons are so flat, and the contrast of all of the letters, numbers, and symbols on the keyboard makes it hard for me to zone in on where things are!
I would say that anyone who has a smartphone that you really like, and want Cricket unlimited service (no contract), flashing is an option to consider. Of course, so long as you don’t care about not having MMS. Note that if you try to send an MMS you’ll get a sending error message, which is good because you’ll know it’s not working. However, if someone sends you an MMS, neither you nor they will know that it was sent/never arrived!
Lastly, the dealer warned me that if you flash your smartphone, you can never accept updates for the phone as they basically re-flash the phone and you’ll lose the Cricket flashing! So you’re stuck with whatever OS they provide you when they flash the custom Cricket ROM to your smartphone.