What is Boost Mobile? (2024)

Subscriptions from major mobile carriers aren't worth it on a line you hardly use. Prepaid carriers tend to be cheaper, and there's no shortage of options in the US. Still, it can be hard to make the switch to prepaid, as many budget carriers may not offer the same level of customer service that you'll find on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Boost Mobile hopes to allay some of those fears with in-store assistance, online activation, and plenty of customer service options. It uses networks from AT&T, Dish, and T-Mobile for nationwide coverage. Here's everything you need to know about the service.

What is Boost Mobile?

Dish Wireless owns Boost Mobile. It's a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that provides affordable prepaid wireless services through Dish, AT&T, and T-Mobile. According to the telecommunications publisher Mobile World Live, Boost had 7.4 million subscribers at the end of 2023. That's about 50,000 fewer customers than the company had at the end of 2022.

As an MVNO, Boost Mobile relies on AT&T and T-Mobile for a good chunk of its infrastructure. That said, Dish is also building a massive 5G network from the ground up. At the end of 2023, Dish announced its 5G network covers over 140 million people. And while it is spending billions to build its 5G network, the company sees it as a worthwhile investment that will give it an edge over the big three carriers.

Since Dish is building an entirely new 5G network, it doesn't have to deal with legacy equipment like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Instead, it is building an Open RAN (O-RAN) 5G network, which offers Boost and its subscribers a lot of perks. Dish's infrastructure isn't tied to specific network and radio vendors. That means it can seek out competitive bids, easily mix and match components, and its technicians and engineers need minimal training when it works with equipment from different vendors.

Although Boost leases capacity from AT&T and T-Mobile to offer service, it's a turnkey solution; they're not responsible for the infrastructure. Instead it is hard at work building a next-generation network that should offer solid coverage at a very competitive price.

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Brief history of Boost Mobile

Peter Adderton, launched Boost Mobile in Australia and New Zealand in 2000. Shortly after, Adderton, along with Peter Adderton, Craig Cooper, and Kirt McMaster brought Boost to the US in a joint partnership with Nextel.

Nextel got full ownership of Boost's US operations in 2003. Then Sprint Corporation acquired Nextel in 2004, making Boost a subsidiary. During this period, the company expanded nationwide and continued using Nextel's iDEN network for its service.

In 2006, they launched a new offering, which they called Unlimited by Boost Mobile. This service ran on Sprint's Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network. It's a digital cellular technology that allows multiple users to share the same frequency channel. Each user's signal has a unique code.

Although this new plan boosted Boost Mobile's growth, the company didn't fully switch over to CDMA technology right away. In 2009, they had to adapt quickly with a new Monthly Unlimited Plan to keep up with rivals. But the customer surge strained Nextel's iDEN network, causing frustrating delays in text messages.

To address this problem, Boost announced plans for an unlimited offering using Sprint's CDMA network in 2010. Around the same time, Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile USA, and merged it with Boost. Boost then embarked on a smartphone journey and rolled out various models. They first launched the Motorola i1, and more devices up to the Samsung Galaxy Prevail and marked their entry into Sprint's 4G LTE network. After merging with T-Mobile in 2020, Sprint sold Boost to Dish Network. Dish Wireless then went into partnership with AT&T for 5G spectrum in 2021.

What to keep in mind about Boost's data plans and cancelations

Boost Mobile offers unlimited plans with 5G connectivity. However, you need a 5G device in an area with 5G coverage to access such high speeds. Otherwise, you'll get 4G LTE speeds.

Traditional capped plans give you a set amount of data that completely stops working when you max out. With Boost Mobile, you won't exceed your data limit for unlimited plans because there isn't really one. You only run out of high-speed data, which means you'll experience slower speeds. But you can still call, text, and browse.

Data packs are available when you hit those soft caps before your plan's expiration. When your plan does expire, you have 60 days to make a full payment. Otherwise, Boost Mobile will close your account, and you will lose any remaining funds and your phone number. However, you can readjust your plan before reactivation if you can no longer afford it.

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Boost Mobile eligibility and availability information

You need a phone that's compatible with Boost Mobile before you can switch to their network. Their official website provides a form that helps you check your device's status. If it isn't eligible, Boost has a large selection of flagships and budget phones with solid promotions and discounts. If you keep your account active for up to nine months, you become eligible for a phone upgrade and can trade in your old phone at nearby Boost Mobile stores.

Boost Mobile doesn't check your credit history or score to determine eligibility. It's a good thing if you have a limited or poor credit background. Plus, they provide users with broad coverage across the globe, and that's majorly thanks to its partnership with many carriers. Enter your zip code on their website to see if your region is covered.

Boost Mobile supports live chat on their website. It gives you the convenience of seeking assistance from experts without the anxiety of phone calls. But if you don't mind voice calls, you can reach them on 833-502-6678. Customer support times start and end from Monday to Friday from 4am to 8pm Pacific Time (PT).

On Saturdays and Sundays, you can reach them from 4am to 7pm PT. If you have any needs outside their operational hours, feel free to refer to their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section and mobile app. The BoostOne app helps you manage your account, make payments, access exclusive deals, and do more.

Best alternative MVNOs to Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile isn't the only affordable MVNO on the market. Here are three other substitutes to keep you connected with loved ones:

Google Fi

Google Fi is ideal for families, although its plans are costlier. You can add up to six members at anytime, and you have the option to bring your current personal number. When signing up, Google Fi will check if your number is eligible for transfer. If it's not, you can activate a new number. With an existing Google Voice number, you can set up call forwarding to your Fi phone number and consolidate communications.

Mint Mobile

Mint mobile runs on the T-Mobile network, and suits cost savers with its multiple months of service. You'll receive discounts if you buy them at once. The plans are available in 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month options with cheaper monthly rates than traditional month-to-month plans. You can transfer your old number or get a new line, and it supports e-SIMs. However, they don't do trade-ins, so you can't bring your old phone.

Visible

Visible only offers two plans, which you can choose to pay for monthly or yearly. Although your options are limited, the plans are unlimited. They offer 5G Ultra Wideband, 5G, and 4G LTE connectivity. You'll also experience endless talk, text, and data on the Verizon wireless network, along with spam protection, Wi-Fi calling, and voicemail services.

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Affordable carrier services keep you connected at all times

Boost Mobile offers many advantages. With unlimited connectivity, you can browse, stream your favorite content, and connect with loved ones without worrying about data caps or overage charges. If you don't find the service favorable, there are other MVNOs that hit the mark. But you want to check that your device is not carrier locked before you switch over. Carrier-locked phones can only work on the network that they're tied to. Fortunately, there's a way to tell when your line is carrier locked and unlock it.

What is Boost Mobile? (2024)
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