Don't buy a Cricket phone, get an OEM unlocked one.
I got a Cricket specific Galaxy S5 (back in the day) and it stopped receiving Android updates long before my wife's unlocked ATT S5 did (I got as far a Lollipop while she got Marshmallow. IIRC).
I bought a Samsung factory unlocked Note 8, and now I only have Samsung's horrible bloatware, not Crickets and Samsung's.
I was able to install MyCricket and Visual Voicemail from Google Play store, so I'm not missing anything, except the lack of future updates.
Now if Samsung would quit putting bloatware on my phone and blocking me from controlling many of the UI settings, I would be happy. It seems like you have to root a phone to actually own it, but some gaming apps won't allow installation on rooted phones.
Samsung makes beautiful hardware, but destroys the experience with their heavy handed software installations.
Sounds like an awful experience but have you tried doing some diagnostics to see if you live in a bad cell reception area? This blog tells you how to check your phone's signal strength. I've had Cricket for 2.5 years and I've never had any problems. There are many things that can screw up your call quality and data downloads so I recommend checking it out.
As I posted in the another comment, FYI, I switched to PureTalk USA, same ATT towers, same coverage, USA based Customer Support, and cheaper. Not being paid or getting a reward from PureTalk, I'm posting this to all my previous comments to let people know there's a decent alternative...
Cell Phones, Plans and Service from Cricket
Top Reasons to Choose Cricket
How to Pick a Cell Phone Service
1. Review your most recent cell phone bill
Look for opportunities to save. In particular, take note of:
How much you're paying per line - Do you have a multi-line cell phone plan? What kind of discount are you getting? Could you save more by switching? Cricket's family and group plan offers a discount for each extra line up to the fifth line - so you could get 5 lines with 2 GB of high-speed data each for as little as $130/mo - as long as all 5 lines are on the $40/mo plan. Discounts apply to lines 2-5.
How much data you use - Do you burn through all of your high-speed data too soon? Do you always have lots of data to spare? Ideally, you don't want to get too little or too much. Cricket has a variety of cell phone plans to fit any lifestyle, so you can choose a cell phone plan that's just right.
Any surprise taxes or fees (which can really add up) - With Cricket, taxes are included in your bill, so you know exactly what to expect. For a list of our current fees, view our Charges & Fees page.
2. Decide how satisfied you are with your current cell phone
"Bring Your Own Phone" BYOP - If you want to keep your phone, bring it to Cricket - just make sure it's unlocked and compatible with our network.
Get a brand new smartphone - Had your eye on one of the hottest new phones? Just need an inexpensive device that does the job? We've got a variety of prepaid smartphones, many with great incentives when you switch to Cricket.
3. Consider any issues you've faced with service you had in the past
Have you had a lot of dropped calls or slow speeds? With Cricket, you'll enjoy extensive 4G LTE coverage nationwide.
Are you fed up with contracts? There's no annual contract with Cricket's prepaid plans.
Want great service? Providing outstanding customer care is a top priority at Cricket, which is why we make it easy for you to reach us via chat or on the phone. If you prefer to get answers quickly and easily, view our online support.
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