Boost Mobile’s prepaid plans offer great value. However, that comes with a couple of caveats.
Boost runs on Sprint’s network, which ranks third out of the Big Four (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) in overall performance, according to the latest RootMetrics report. Also, you probably can’t bring your old phone to Boost. It’s fairly strict about the kinds of phones allowed on its network, and its hardware isn’t compatible with all handsets.
Boost Mobile cell phone plans
Boost Mobile offers two basic plans, both with unlimited calling and texting:
- 3 gigabytes: $35 (You can add 1GB for an extra $5 per month or 2GB for $10)
- Unlimited data: $50
With the 3GB plan, you get unlimited streaming music from Pandora and a handful of other services. You can use your phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot on both plans, though only up to 8GB on the unlimited plan.
The unlimited plan restricts your streaming video to standard quality (480p), but you can remove this restriction for an additional $20 per month.
You can add up to five lines on each plan; each additional line beyond the first costs $30 per month. You can save $5 every month if you sign up to pay your monthly bill automatically.
Boost Mobile’s network
Boost is owned by Sprint and operates on its network. Sprint confirms that Boost Mobile customers get the same service and data priority as Sprint customers. That’s good news for Boost users, as the smaller operators that share network space with the Big Four are sometimes deprioritized.
However, Sprint’s network, while improving, doesn’t match up to Verizon’s or AT&T’s. Its overall performance ranked behind those two companies, according to RootMetrics, though it finished ahead of T-Mobile.
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How Boost Mobile compares on price
|1GB or less||2-4GB||5-7GB||8-10GB||Unlimited|
|*Republic Wireless customers pay $15 for unlimited talk and text. Data is billed at a rate of $5 per gigabyte.|
|AT&T GoPhone||$35 (talk and text only)||$45 (6GB)||$65|
|Boost Mobile||$35 (3GB)||$50|
|Cricket Wireless||$25 (talk and text only)||$30 (2GB)||$40 (5GB)||$60|
|MetroPCS||$30 (2GB)||$40 (5GB)||$50|
|Republic Wireless*||$15 (talk, text and Wi-Fi)|
|Sprint prepaid||$45 (4GB)||$65|
|Straight Talk Wireless||$30 (1,500 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB data)||$35 (2GB)||$45 (10GB)||$55|
|T-Mobile prepaid||$45 (4GB)||$55 (6GB)||$75|
|Verizon prepaid||$30 (talk and text only)||$40 (3GB)||$50 (7GB)||$60 (10GB)||$80|
Updated June 7, 2017.
Stephen Layton is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.