Carrier Cricket vs AT&T for iPhone 5

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
so, i'm perplexed. i have used my iPhone 5 on AT&T for the past two years, and over the past week (after receiving my iPhone 6 which is on Verizon), wiped it clean, set it up, and last night ported my wife's older number over to it to use on Cricket.

i had been led to believe that beyond latency and capped LTE speeds, she should experience similar performance that i did while on AT&T. so far, that has not been the case. most notably, we witnessed signal strength from zero (!) to 4 bars at our house over the course of just a half hour. in other, words, there was the dreaded "No Service" coming up several times. i never had that appear once in the four years i have had iPhones (4 and 5) on AT&T at our house. so i'm befuddled. is this just a glitch or something that will continue...

i did a hard reboot this morning before i left for work and left it charging. (overnight, with basically nothing running in the background, the phone dropped from 91% to 47% in a matter of 8 hours. the battery usage said that phone (low signal) was one of the primary culprits)

any thoughts/advice? really disappointed and am not sure how to debug this one. (this is especially hard since it's my wife's phone and i had hoped this would be a black box transition for her coming from a dumb/feature phone... at the very least, the phone portion of the iPhone should "just work.")
 

shawndc1

macrumors regular
Feb 12, 2014
173
9
so, i'm perplexed. i have used my iPhone 5 on AT&T for the past two years, and over the past week (after receiving my iPhone 6 which is on Verizon), wiped it clean, set it up, and last night ported my wife's older number over to it to use on Cricket.

i had been led to believe that beyond latency and capped LTE speeds, she should experience similar performance that i did while on AT&T. so far, that has not been the case. most notably, we witnessed signal strength from zero (!) to 4 bars at our house over the course of just a half hour. in other, words, there was the dreaded "No Service" coming up several times. i never had that appear once in the four years i have had iPhones (4 and 5) on AT&T at our house. so i'm befuddled. is this just a glitch or something that will continue...

i did a hard reboot this morning before i left for work and left it charging. (overnight, with basically nothing running in the background, the phone dropped from 91% to 47% in a matter of 8 hours. the battery usage said that phone (low signal) was one of the primary culprits)

any thoughts/advice? really disappointed and am not sure how to debug this one. (this is especially hard since it's my wife's phone and i had hoped this would be a black box transition for her coming from a dumb/feature phone... at the very least, the phone portion of the iPhone should "just work.")
t-mobile has something to do with cricket, how is t-mobiles coverage in your area?
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
t-mobile has something to do with cricket, how is t-mobiles coverage in your area?
tmobile coverage is iffy. can you explain more? what does tmobile have to do with cricket.

cricket (as far as i was aware of) is supposedly owned by AT&T, and is an MVNO that uses AT&T towers.

what it seems to me is that the phone was episodically losing tower connection and then reconnecting. but there were gaps that shouldn't have occurred between tower swaps.

thanks!
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,208
1,139
so, i'm perplexed. i have used my iPhone 5 on AT&T for the past two years, and over the past week (after receiving my iPhone 6 which is on Verizon), wiped it clean, set it up, and last night ported my wife's older number over to it to use on Cricket.

i had been led to believe that beyond latency and capped LTE speeds, she should experience similar performance that i did while on AT&T. so far, that has not been the case. most notably, we witnessed signal strength from zero (!) to 4 bars at our house over the course of just a half hour. in other, words, there was the dreaded "No Service" coming up several times. i never had that appear once in the four years i have had iPhones (4 and 5) on AT&T at our house. so i'm befuddled. is this just a glitch or something that will continue...

i did a hard reboot this morning before i left for work and left it charging. (overnight, with basically nothing running in the background, the phone dropped from 91% to 47% in a matter of 8 hours. the battery usage said that phone (low signal) was one of the primary culprits)

any thoughts/advice? really disappointed and am not sure how to debug this one. (this is especially hard since it's my wife's phone and i had hoped this would be a black box transition for her coming from a dumb/feature phone... at the very least, the phone portion of the iPhone should "just work.")
Not seen that. I had iPhone 5 and now 6 on Aio/Cricket.

When I was on iPhone 5, visiting family up in rural NH. Sister with iPhone 5 on ATT and myself on Cricket, and compared. Spot for spot, exactly the same everywhere we went.

A Verizon iPhone 5 will not have the same LTE bands as a ATT iPhone 5. The LTE was more limited before the 5S/5C upgrade.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
Not seen that. I had iPhone 5 and now 6 on Aio/Cricket.

When I was on iPhone 5, visiting family up in rural NH. Sister with iPhone 5 on ATT and myself on Cricket, and compared. Spot for spot, exactly the same everywhere we went.

A Verizon iPhone 5 will not have the same LTE bands as a ATT iPhone 5. The LTE was more limited before the 5S/5C upgrade.
i should have been clear if i wasn't already, the iPhone 5 i set up for my wife is/was an AT&T iPhone 5. it worked perfectly for me for two years at our house.

i wonder if there is something i need to clear out on the phone that might be having it look for the wrong towers or something...

we did try a test phone call and it came through fine...but this "No Service" bit was very worrisome.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,208
1,139
i should have been clear if i wasn't already, the iPhone 5 i set up for my wife is/was an AT&T iPhone 5. it worked perfectly for me for two years at our house.

i wonder if there is something i need to clear out on the phone that might be having it look for the wrong towers or something...

we did try a test phone call and it came through fine...but this "No Service" bit was very worrisome.
A reset network settings might not be a bad idea.
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,340
4,326
i should have been clear if i wasn't already, the iPhone 5 i set up for my wife is/was an AT&T iPhone 5. it worked perfectly for me for two years at our house.

i wonder if there is something i need to clear out on the phone that might be having it look for the wrong towers or something...

we did try a test phone call and it came through fine...but this "No Service" bit was very worrisome.
Just try resetting network settings.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
Just try resetting network settings.
thanks guys. i did do that last night a little before going to bed. as i recall, i didn't see the no service after that, but i was only up a little while longer.

but maybe that did fix it...yet, seeing the battery so low this morning alarmed me since i was pretty sure i set it up cleanly to no have any major idle batter drain.

anyway, i will definitely try that again tonight if somehow this problem doesn't clear itself up.

i'm really disappointed and surprised at this point. i hope i can figure this out because so far, Cricket has been very little help (chat sessions keep getting dropped) and i guess i didn't expect a lot of technical support given the price and the fact that they are just using AT&T towers....
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,208
1,139
thanks guys. i did do that last night a little before going to bed. as i recall, i didn't see the no service after that, but i was only up a little while longer.

but maybe that did fix it...yet, seeing the battery so low this morning alarmed me since i was pretty sure i set it up cleanly to no have any major idle batter drain.

anyway, i will definitely try that again tonight if somehow this problem doesn't clear itself up.

i'm really disappointed and surprised at this point. i hope i can figure this out because so far, Cricket has been very little help (chat sessions keep getting dropped) and i guess i didn't expect a lot of technical support given the price and the fact that they are just using AT&T towers....
They are not 'just' using ATT towers... in the same sense that StraightTalk/Net10 do...

They are a fully owned and operated subsidiary of ATT.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
They are not 'just' using ATT towers... in the same sense that StraightTalk/Net10 do...

They are a fully owned and operated subsidiary of ATT.
yes. sorry for the poor choice of words. what i meant was that Cricket is just handing off data to the ATT towers. this phone should function as if it were an ATT phone except for the hit in latency and data rate caps.

i went with Cricket for this reason. i didn't mind the speed cap nor latency especially for my wife who is used to a dumb phone and has no comparison of what data responsiveness or speed shod look like: i just wanted to insure that voice reliability was the same as i experienced on AT&T both at our home and places where my wife frequents.
 

pvmacguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2009
1,112
28
Jax
well cricket is on t-mobiles job app page lol, i just googled it...its owned by at&t, funny thing is i applied for cricket but had to do it on tmobiles site
That was most likely a legacy cricket position before the purchase and merger with AIO/AT&T.

You should not experience really any difference in service except for latency/data speeds. When I was working with AIO now Cricket, we did have issues on our end with servers/switches and data/text messaging going down but the true AT&T customers still continued to function. That was in the early stages year 1 of the program so I wouldn't worry about that now.

Calling priority through the switch is this #1 along with ATT subscribers. Your MVNO IE: Straight Talk subscribers have a lower calling/priority in the switch so when there is significant network congestion on the tower IE sports/events your cricket/ATT will perform far superior to the lesser carriers.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
That was most likely a legacy cricket position before the purchase and merger with AIO/AT&T.

You should not experience really any difference in service except for latency/data speeds. When I was working with AIO now Cricket, we did have issues on our end with servers/switches and data/text messaging going down but the true AT&T customers still continued to function. That was in the early stages year 1 of the program so I wouldn't worry about that now.

Calling priority through the switch is this #1 along with ATT subscribers. Your MVNO IE: Straight Talk subscribers have a lower calling/priority in the switch so when there is significant network congestion on the tower IE sports/events your cricket/ATT will perform far superior to the lesser carriers.
so do you have any plausible explanation for what i'm experiencing with my wife's (my former) iPhone 5?

any suggested settings/things to try beyond the hard reboot and reset network settings?
 

pvmacguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2009
1,112
28
Jax
so do you have any plausible explanation for what i'm experiencing with my wife's (my former) iPhone 5?

any suggested settings/things to try beyond the hard reboot and reset network settings?
I did notice you said you ported the number. Have you tried to stick the old at&t sim card back in the phone to make sure the number has fully ported out?
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
I did notice you said you ported the number. Have you tried to stick the old at&t sim card back in the phone to make sure the number has fully ported out?
i'm not sure what you suggesting, but let me explain what i did.

1. i originally had a plan with AT&T on this iPhone 5.
2. i ported my number and switched to Verizon when i received my iPhone 6.
3. the AT&T sim went dead with "no service" within 10 minutes of activating the iPhone 6.
4. last night, i activated the iPhone using the cricket nano-sim i received in the mail which ported my wife's number (from Verizon), and it activated fine.

the phone itself was wiped totally clean and set up as new. my wife's old phone does not use a sim. it is a CDMA feature phone.

----------

i'm not sure what you suggesting, but let me explain what i did.

1. i originally had a plan with AT&T on this iPhone 5.
2. i ported my number and switched to Verizon when i received my iPhone 6.
3. the AT&T sim went dead with "no service" within 10 minutes of activating the iPhone 6.
4. last night, i activated the iPhone using the cricket nano-sim i received in the mail which ported my wife's number (from Verizon), and it activated fine.

the phone itself was wiped totally clean and set up as new. my wife's old phone does not use a sim. it is a CDMA feature phone.
oh: i think i know what you are asking...and i really don't know...

are you suggesting that even though my old SIM was inactive, it somehow corrupted the phone setup when i cleaned it and set it up as new?

that would surprise me though... wouldn't what i did be the same thing as when i brought the iPhone 5 to italy and just popped in a different nano-sim?
 

pvmacguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2009
1,112
28
Jax
What I was thinking was the number you ported for your wife to cricket has not completed yet and thus is why it is not showing any signal.

What you could do is take that cricket sim and stick it in the iPhone 6 and see if it gets signal. Pretty sure the VZW iPhones are all sim unlocked for any carrier now. If it gets signal you know your source is then trouble shooting the iPhone 5 further.
 

DollaTwentyFive

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2010
747
4
Parts Unknown
A couple of thoughts, if I may.

The MVNOs like aIO/Cricket ONLY use their parent carrier's towers. In this case AT&T. If you had good AT&T service with your postpaid account at your house, it is possible that they were using a partner carrier with a roaming agreement. On postpaid this is the norm. On a prepaid MVNO, it would not happen. This could explain the lower signal strength on Cricket. It may be reaching further out for an AT&T owned tower whereas the postpaid account may have hopped on a stronger partner tower.

Second thought. Calls on cell towers have priority based on what used to be called a system ID. In other words, if Your Cricket phone is using one of AT&T's towers, the tower knows the difference between an AT&T post-paid phone and a cricket pre-paid phone. This is how they limit data speeds, etc. . .

Along the same lines, assume the tower is capable of handling 500 voice calls at one time. If there are 400 AT&T post-paid calls, then there are 100 slots open for roaming, MVNO, etc. . . However, if your tower is close to capacity, the MVNOs will tend to get pushed down on the priority list and sometimes edged out of a tower because the post-paid subscribers have priority.

Either of these two scenarios may be the cause of your issue or it could be something completely different. I just wanted to put this out there because it seems like most things have remained constant save for the switch from AT&T post-paid to AT&T MVNO.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
What I was thinking was the number you ported for your wife to cricket has not completed yet and thus is why it is not showing any signal.

What you could do is take that cricket sim and stick it in the iPhone 6 and see if it gets signal. Pretty sure the VZW iPhones are all sim unlocked for any carrier now. If it gets signal you know your source is then trouble shooting the iPhone 5 further.
I was thinking of trying it this weekend. Not an entirely fair comparison with different radios and antennas but a useful bit of info regardless.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
A couple of thoughts, if I may.

The MVNOs like aIO/Cricket ONLY use their parent carrier's towers. In this case AT&T. If you had good AT&T service with your postpaid account at your house, it is possible that they were using a partner carrier with a roaming agreement. On postpaid this is the norm. On a prepaid MVNO, it would not happen. This could explain the lower signal strength on Cricket. It may be reaching further out for an AT&T owned tower whereas the postpaid account may have hopped on a stronger partner tower.

Second thought. Calls on cell towers have priority based on what used to be called a system ID. In other words, if Your Cricket phone is using one of AT&T's towers, the tower knows the difference between an AT&T post-paid phone and a cricket pre-paid phone. This is how they limit data speeds, etc. . .

Along the same lines, assume the tower is capable of handling 500 voice calls at one time. If there are 400 AT&T post-paid calls, then there are 100 slots open for roaming, MVNO, etc. . . However, if your tower is close to capacity, the MVNOs will tend to get pushed down on the priority list and sometimes edged out of a tower because the post-paid subscribers have priority.

Either of these two scenarios may be the cause of your issue or it could be something completely different. I just wanted to put this out there because it seems like most things have remained constant save for the switch from AT&T post-paid to AT&T MVNO.
Thanks for your informative post. I hope your explanation isn't the correct one. But it makes sense.

I have a somewhat encouraging update. I just spent 45 minutes in a very difficult to communicate chat session with a cricket rep. He supposedly sent signals to my wife's phone that might solve the problems. When I get home, I'm supposed to power down the phone. Take out the sim card. Wait 10 minutes, then reinstall the sun and power back up. I'm not going to be overly hopeful but maybe this will work. He also suggested if that doesn't work, there are other things that could be tried. Not sure what, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
 

pvmacguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2009
1,112
28
Jax
When we were in the AIO stores, sometimes we would make sure the phone was restored and put the sim in and connect to iTunes for activation. When we did that it would prompt for us to download a carrier file.

It's possible that even though the iPhone does support OTA carrier files to be sent something interrupted the phone from getting it. So if it didn't finish installing that file, it won't connect to the network.

Try restoring and connecting to the computer and activating just to be safe.
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
580
129
When we were in the AIO stores, sometimes we would make sure the phone was restored and put the sim in and connect to iTunes for activation. When we did that it would prompt for us to download a carrier file.

It's possible that even though the iPhone does support OTA carrier files to be sent something interrupted the phone from getting it. So if it didn't finish installing that file, it won't connect to the network.

Try restoring and connecting to the computer and activating just to be safe.
Good suggestion and another thing for me to try. But if course I ask: why does I work some of the time? I would think if the girl were invomplet, th cellular radio would be entirely not working. Not just episodic "no service"

Anyway, I'm glad I have a few things to try and play with this weekend when I find time. Hopefully one will solve the problem.
 

brand

macrumors 601
Oct 3, 2006
4,361
401
127.0.0.1
t-mobile has something to do with cricket, how is t-mobiles coverage in your area?
You are correct T-Mobile is a competitor to Cricket. Since this thread is about Cricket and not T-Mobile asking about T-Mobile coverage is kind of pointless don't you think.
 

jcrandall

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2012
10
0
I have Cricket on 4 different iPhone 5C's for my family and they work fine, no loss of service issues like you describe. I do remember it doing a carrier update at one point that may make a difference. Look in General, then About, what does it say for Carrier? I have cricket 17.0.

Otherwise I hope the reset network settings may help, lastly try doing a full reset of the phone with iTunes. What you are describing doesn't sound normal.
 
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