Many Boost Mobile Pay As You Go (PayGo) users received the a text message from Boost today. It reads:
"BSTFREEMSG Pay As You Go rates will go up on 10/6/11. Your rate won't increase as long as your acct remains active & you don't change plans."
According to @BoostCare, an official Boost account on Twitter, the new rates are 20 cents/minute for voice, 20 cents/text sent or received and 50 cents/day for the unlimited web add-on. Current pricing is 10 cents per minute or text and 35 cents/day for Web. So this is a 100% increase in voice and text pricing and a 70% increase in data pricing.
According to @BoostCare switching the Web option on or off or switching temporarily from Pay As You Go to Boost's $2/day Unlimited plan both constitute plan changes and would trigger the increase.
I don't really see any justification for such large price increases especially for voice and texting. Pay as you go pricing has been going down for many years. Both AT&T and PagePlus cut pay as you go prices recently. The new rates make Boost the second most expensive pay operator in the country. Only Verizon charges more.
The only part of Boost PayGo that makes any sense for users anymore is the 50 cents/day unlimited data. Even that's less than it seems as Boost doesn't officially allow any smartphones on Boost CDMA.
The only explanation I can see is that Boost wants to get rid of the low profit PayGo part of the business by driving pay as you go customers to either the Boost Unlimited plan or to other carriers. On any carrier's PayGo, it's already the case that a user who accidentally fails to refill their account on time looses their cash balance. When faced with a 100% price increase in addition to losing their credit, I don't think many users will find any reason to stick with Boost. Fortunately their are lots of alternatives for lower priced PayGo voice and text services. I've listed the ones I consider the best below in no particular order:
|Operator||Plan or Package||Network||Technology||Minimum Monthly Cost||Voice min.||SMS||Data|
|TracFone||Pay As You Go||AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon||CDMA or GSM||6.67||0.04-0.17*||0.02-0.06||0.02-0.08/min|
|T-Mobile||Pay As You Go||T-Mobile||GSM||3.33*||0.10-0.33||0.10/0.05|| |
Unlimited (throttled after 30 MB) - $1.49/day or free
|Page Plus||Standard Rate Plan||Verizon||CDMA||2.50||0.04-0.10||0.05||$0.99/MB|
|Jolt Mobile||Mobile 10¢||AT&T||GSM||3.33||0.10||0.10||$0.01/KB ($10/MB)|
PayGo is the original, most consumer friendly and purest form of prepaid. Unlike monthly plans which encourage you to buy more than you need, with PayGo you pay only for the minutes, messages and megabytes of data you actually use. It's also the most cost effective choice for anyone who doesn't need data and uses fewer than 600 combined minutes and texts per month. It's a shame to see Boost abdicating this market to its competitors but fortunate that users have other options.