Both prepaid carrier Cricket Wireless and Sprint, whose customers include both prepaid and post-paid rate plans, use a cell phone technology known as Code Division Multiple Access, or CDMA for short. As a result, it's possible to reprogram certain Sprint devices to be used on Cricket's mobile network.
CDMA Technology and Flashing
Although the scope of plans and service each carrier offers is different, Cricket and Sprint both employ the same wireless technology, known as CDMA. Unlike competing GSM technology, whose devices connect to their networks using SIM cards, CDMA phones function completely on the basis of carrier software and other internal programming. The procedure used to reprogram a CDMA phone so that it can be used on another network is colloquially known as "flashing."
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Approved Devices and Flashing to Cricket
Cricket accepts a large number of mobile phones -- which it lists on its website -- for flashing onto its network. After confirming that your Sprint device is among these, you must have someone flash it to Cricket so you can begin using the Cricket service. Certain Cricket stores perform flashes while you wait, according to Cricket's website, while others simply direct you to a nearby, reputable cell phone repair specialist who can perform the flash for you.
Canceling Sprint Service
Flashing your Sprint phone to Cricket is but one of the steps you must take to begin using it on the Cricket network. Although you can no longer use your device on Sprint's network, Sprint continues billing you until you cancel your service with it. Before you cancel your Sprint service, make sure you've completed your service obligation to the carrier; otherwise, you'll be charged a termination fee, which varies depending on the terms of your contract, but is usually over $100.
Choosing a Cricket Plan
After flashing your phone to Cricket and cancelling your Sprint service, you must choose a Cricket plan to use your device with Cricket. Cricket plans aren't based on credit checks and aren't contractually binding, but rather allow you to take advantage of bundles of services and minutes as you would with a standard rate plan, but on a month-to-month basis. See a representative at your Cricket store after you flash your phone to inquire about plans available in your area.