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I would get a triband phone if I am in a market that is AWS. Flashed phones do not work in an AWS market. If you are going to be doing a lot of traveling to an AWS market, make sure your phone roams and you have a lot of roaming minutes because you will be roaming EVEN if you have the extended coverage.
Novatel Wireless Merlin S720 Mobile Broadband Card (Sprint, now Cricket)
Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 USB Modem (Sprint, now Cricket)
:^/ On the other hand, I live in Portland, Oregon, which is not a AWS market. So, my Palm Treo works just fine on CDMA, without Cricket's Tri-Band frequency. Since I don't roam very often, it doesn't bother me that it would be costly.
See? Each individual's needs are different. "Which is better?" is really "which is better [i]for you?[i]"
again, depends on your wants and your needs. About the aws deal, yeah... find out about that, it would definitely make up your mind for you. Getting charged for roaming all the time would really EAT your wallet.
If the aws isn't an issue, consider this- Is the phone you would flash, under warranty? If you flash it and try to send it in for repairs...it's Not. (Tho you can flash it back to the original carrier before you send it in for repairs).
So something to consider there. If you want a phone that you Know is within the limits of the warranty, get one from cricket, and forget getting a flashed phone. If you have a phone that you don't care if the manufacturer may or may not work on it/replace it, go with a flashed if you want to.
Myself, I think that most of cricket's phones are pretty cheap, and pretty limited. From my avatar you can tell that I don't use one of their phones.