Cricket Wireless has been through a lot of change in a relatively short period. In 2013, after a slow fade into obscurity, AT&T bought them up in a deal that included parent company Leap Wireless. Slowly but surely from there, first by aggressive adoption of Windows Phone and then by aggressive expansion, Cricket clawed their way back into a relatively decent posture on the wireless stage, akin to MetroPCS or Virgin Mobile. Then, in December of 2015, the person in charge of that venture, Jennifer Van Buskirk, was moved to President of AT&T’s Northeast Region. Her replacement, John Dwyer, came from AT&T’s Customer Experience department. It seems Dwyer brought a lot more than people skills and customer satisfaction experience with him, though; he brought ambition and he brought it in spades.
According to Dwyer, Cricket is going to continue their aggressive expansion with a focus on face to face. Dwyer pointed out that “a purchase of a wireless device is a significant moment of truth…” and that for most customers, a face to face interaction with both their new phone and a sales rep, the face of the company they’re trusting with their digital life, is far more ideal than simply looking at a phone online, doing some research and clicking “buy”. To that end, Dwyer seems to think that the huge momentum from 2015, including the massive Target deal that resulted in hundreds of in-store locations and counting, was only the tip of the iceberg. Dwyer would like to give customers the ability to to meet with someone face to face in store.
On the matter of Cricket no longer offering handset financing, Dwyer said “We’re always evaluating and exploring what that would look like…”, indicating that the option may pop back up in the future, given more time and research. Dwyer also chimed in on customer preferences, saying that Cricket customers tend to prefer large screen devices more often than customers of AT&T proper. On that note, Cricket is set to offer the Duraforce X D and Hydro View from Kyocera in the near future, fairly premium options in the rugged LTE handset space. Prepaid customers, on average, generate $10 a head more than postpaid AT&T customers, which is a big boost to the company’s pockets considering that they added 466,000 new prepaid customers in 2015. This number, Dwyer feels, means that AT&T is “…growing faster than anyone else in the industry…”