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Prepaid Operator Profile: Boost Mobile

This is one of Prepaid Phone News' series of comprehensive US prepaid mobile operator profiles. These posts cover all the major US mobile operators that have prepaid plans as well as the MVNOs which offer a good value.

Overview: Boost Mobile (866-402-7366) is one of Sprint's three prepaid brands, the others being Sprint Prepaid and Virgin Mobile. Boost is believed to have approximately 7 million users .

Technology: CDMA  on the 850 (b 26) and 1900 (b 25) Mhz bands with 1RTT, EVDO and LTE data support. 4G LTE on the 2.5 Ghz (b 41) band.

Plans: Boost offers two monthly plans.

Name Price (plus sales tax) Voice Text/MMS Data
Monthly Unlimited Starter $30/month ($25/month with auto pay) unlimited unlimited 1 GB  hi-speed 1,2
Monthly Unhook'd $50/month ($45/month with auto pay) unlimited unlimited unlimited, unthrottled 3
Additional high speed data available at 1 GB for $5 or 2 GB for $10
2 Unlimited 3G and LTE data is throttled to 128Kbps or less for the rest of the plan month after the hi-speed data allotment is used up.
3 Video streaming is degraded to 480p resolution, audio streaming is restricted to 500Kbps, online gaming data throttled to 2 Mbps, hotspot, VPN and P2P uses limited to 8 GB/month.

Grace Period: Customers who fail to pay for their service get up to 60 days of free incoming calls and messages.

Family Plans: Customers on the $50 Unlimited Hook'd plan can add additional Unlimited Hook'd lines (up to 5 lines total) for $30 per month per line.

International Rates: Boost's international voice rates are fairly good (full list) are fairly good. Sample rates to go mobile phones: Canada .10; Mexico .20; China .15; UK .20; Philippines .20.

Monthly plan users can add an International Connect Plan. There are two plans available:

  • $5 Todo Mexico Plus - unlimited calling to Canada and Mexico, including calls to mobile phones, unlimited international text messaging, plus unlimited talk and text roaming and limited data roaming in Mexico. Customers on the $30 plan get 1 GB of data while in Mexico and $50 plan users get 8 GB.  
  • $10 International Connect Plus - unlimited international texting, unlimited calling to landlines in 70 countries (list of countries) and to mobiles in Canada and 3 other countries. 200 minutes to mobiles in over 50 countries. Discounted rates to over 200 countries (list of countries) . Available with all monthly plans.
International texts are free to receive and 10¢ each to send on all plans.  Both International Connect plans include unlimited international texting.

Boost also offers International Minute Packs that provide a bundle of minutes for calls to landline and mobile phones in one county. Packs cost between $3 and $20 and include varying numbers of minutes depending on countries.

Coverage: Boost uses the Sprint native network which is the smallest of the four nation operators. Customers with select phones on current plans get 50 minutes of free voice roaming per month. Text and data roaming is not available. Coverage is available in most cities and larger towns and along major intersates but is lacking in rural and many resort areas. Boost's interactive coverage map is quite accurate and lets you zoom into see block by block coverage.

Devices: Boost Mobile offers a good selection of phones including iPhones and Android models.

Hotspot and Tethering: Hotspot and tethering is included with all current monthly plans. A hotspot capable phone is required (most Boost smartphones are hotspot capable).
    Boost Mobile now allows a number of Sprint phones to be activated on Boost. The list of allowed phones changes frequently. See this page on the Boost site for more information a current list of eligible phones: Activate a Sprint Phone FAQs | Phones & Devices FAQs | Boost Mobile

    Officially Sprint phones can only be activated at a Boost Mobile store but some users have reported success by calling Boost and asking for their Sprint phone to be "re-SKU'ed" to Boost There's a $10 fee for activating a Sprint phone on Boost.

    How to Buy: Boost Mobile phones are available from Sprint stores, "big box" retailers like Target, Best Buy and Walmart and online.  Basic models can sometimes be purchased at supermarkets, convenience stores and chain drugstores.

    How to Activate: Activate online at apps.boostmobile.com/boostApp/handsetIdentifier.do or by calling 1-877-855-6673 from another phone  and pressing 2.  Activation of new phones is free. There is a $10 charge for activating a used phone.

    Payment Options: PIN cards or codes are available at Sprint stores, most convenience stores, supermarkets, chain drugstores and big box retailers like Target. PINs can be purchased at a discount from callingmart.com and other online retailers. Refill cards and PINs are available in $20, $30 and $50 denominations. Direct to phone real time refills are available in amounts from $10 to $60 at boostmobile.com/reboost/callingmart.com, Sprint and stores and some convenience stores.

    You can top up a Boost Mobile account with a PIN or a credit or debit card at boostmobile.com/reboost/ or using the My account option in the phone browser or by calling #233 on the phone or 1-888-266-7848 from another phone.

    Account Management: You can check your cash balance, change plans and add or remove the data feature package online in the My Account option on the phone browser's homepage or the My Account section of the Boost Website or by calling 611 from the phone or 1-800-901-9878 from another phone.

    Account and phone number expiration: If you allow your monthly plan to expire, you won't be able to make a call or send a text or use data but you will still be able to receive incoming calls and texts for up to 60 days. If you do not renew your within 60 days your account will canceled and your phone number lost.

    Boost Mobile "Secret" codes
    225 or #225(#BAL) to check minute usage and account balance.
    233 or #233(#ADD) to make a payment.
    611 or #611 to access a summary of your service plan or contact customer customer care
    ##786# displays phone number MSID, ESN, MEID, PRL, call and data counters and version numbers (some phones).

    Free information services calls
    611 - Boost customer care
    711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
    911 - Emergency services

    Customer Service:
    Phone support: 4am - 9pm PST 7 days a week 1-866-402-7366 (automated services). To quickly reach a human dial 800-467-0890 then enter 402 when connected.
    Online email support form: support.boostmobile.com/contactcustomercare.html (very slow to reply in my experience).

    Phone Sales and General Information Web Site: boostmobile.com

    Boost Mobile Pros: Strong retail presence, generous data allowances, good selection of smartphones, voice roaming, some BYOD

    Boost Mobile Cons: No Pay As You Go, limited coverage, no SMS roaming, BYOD is limited.

    Updated Sept 29, 2016: Data Boost and $60 Unlimited plans discontinued.


    Comment Page :
    1. I have a question about Shrinkage. Let's say I buy a feature phone with the 45 dollar plan and make ontime payments for 18 months. My payment becomes 30. But let's say I want a new phone. If I buy a new phone, will my payment still be 30? How about if I wanted to upgrade to smart phone with data? Will I still get shinkage benefit?

      1. You don't lose your shrinkage when you change phones. If you're on the $45 Talk and Text unlimited and your payment has shrunk to $30, if you switch to another non-smartphone your payment will still be $30. If you upgrade to an Android phone your monthly price will be $40 ($55 Android plan - $15 shrinkage).

    2. I have a question according to a friend of mine boost is going to start doing contracts is this true ?

      1. Anything's possible, but haven't heard that rumor.

    3. can someone tell me if your boost mobile is disconnected for non payment, is voice mail still active?

    4. No. The only number you can dial on a disconnected cell phone is 911. On most phones you can still use wifi to connect to internet

    5. Boost has confirmed they will sell the iPhone 5S and 5C starting on November 8 of this year.

    6. Does Boost allow 3-way calling? My experience with Virgin mobile was that there was no 3-way calling as far as I could tell...is Boost that way too?

    7. Boost wants to cut MetroPsc and Cricket Wireless' customers bill in half. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150619005477/en/Boost-Mobile-Invites-Cricket-MetroPCS-Customers-Slash#.VYQkYmDzBJ0

    8. Boost Mobile today announced two new Wi-Fi Hotspot Plans.1.5GB/$25 & 10GB/$50.

    9. NEW ZTE Max+ is now available @ BoostMobile.com. Better memory,processor and battery.Internal storage doubled, RAM doubled.

    10. Boost Mobile new phone - ZTE Warp Elite $179.99.

    11. If you call someone's phone that is disconnected what will happen? Will it ring like normal and then go to voicemail like normal.

      1. If the phone is disconnected for non payment you will get a message that the call can't be completed with mo option to leave voice main.

        If the phone you are calling is turned off or in an area without service the call will go to voicemail.

    12. BOOST Hotspot ON $50 UNLIMITED PLAN: Hotspot draws from plan’s high-speed data allotment or limited to 8GB if on the $50 unlimited plan.

      $50 plan includes 8GB of Mobile Hotspot, VPN and P2P access per month.

      SO using a data savings App like OperaMAX will eat the HOTSPOT data as the app uses a VPN for data savings. This would apply to Opera and OperaMINI browsers as well when data compression is active.

      Sprint says that data compression is used on the network but Opera seems to do a better job at compression as Opera claims to reduce data by more than 50% in some cases.

      1. Opera Mini is a proxy browser, not a VPN so I don't think the data it uses would be counted toward 8 GB limit.

        Opera Max is VPN so data used while Opera Max is active likely would count against the 8 GB but we won't really know until some one tests whether it does or not.

        Boost is probably counting VPN use because PC VPNs are often used to hide hotspot use. It's possible that Boost exempts on-device, non-hotspot use of Open Max from counting against the 8 GB cap but without testing we won't know.

    13. Boost unlimited $50 plan .... " Data deprioritization applies during congestion ". That is basicly the very first sentence under the UNLIMITED Data plan. In August 2016 I used the $60 UNLIMITED plan. I have always experienced Data Deprioritization on this plan, and not being anywhere near the 23 gigabyte limit. DATA-DEP is noticed at any time, day, night, 4AM.

      DATA-DEP is when the spinning star next to LTE in the top line in the display stops spinning. And a Data tracking app shows "0" data in the top display line. This happens on web browsers independent of which website is being used. Have also seen the very same thing happen on a Virgin Mobile phone with 2500 meg high speed data limit and only 500 megs of data used.
      Best way to get data working is to go into airplane mode and wait 20 seconds for the sprint system to detect data line disconnection and then turn airplane mode off.

      1. What you describe sounds like a data connection glitch rather than de-prioritization. I had data stop working on all carriers that was fixed by toggling airplane mode. It does seem to happen more frequently on Sprint than on other operators.

        De-prioritization should slow data down, not stop it entirely. If you are deprioritized because you meet the condition of being an unlimited plan user on a congested network segment, toggling airplane mode doesn't change the condition and shouldn't remove deprioritization.

    14. Boost is now offering 50 minutes of off network Voice Roaming.. Meaning the phone will now connect to Verizon in rural areas across the USA. The phone must also be able to roam. The current phone list shows iphones are not able to roam.

    15. Boost is breaking out the hotspot data use in an online meter that is shown on an account page under DATA where all the options are to get mins to anywhere or BoostTV. Will do the tests.

    16. Boost $60 UNLIMITED plan data... A post I made on Aug 25 2016 on one of your other message boards, but not this one, I stated DATA-DEP after 23 Gigs of data was lmited to 128 Kilobits. That was in error and my mistake. Starting About Aug 25 and going to Sept 21 2016 I used over 26.493 Gigs of data on Boost, per the Account Data meter on the account web site. Also on Sept 21 BOOST sent notification the 23 Gig limit had been exceeded. I did not see or measure any data throttling on the data over 23 Gigs. The 23 gig limit was actually reached two days before the notification was sent by Boost. The Account Data meter on the main account page header shows account data used. The meter starts at zero and shows a limit of UNLIMITED .. 0/UNLMITED.

      But Data speed, as stated in my DATA-DEP post above, went to Zero speed at times.

      I think data throttling is different than DATA-DEP.



    17. Boost HOTSPOT DATA account. There is no restriction I can find on the use of VPNs, or other uses like listed on the $50 UNLIMITED account, which I switched to. Also, my 4gLTE HOTSPOT data account offered an option when setting it up that was not then or now listed as an option... 15 Gigs of data at $55. The 10 gigs for $50 was a good deal but 50% more for $5 is and still is the best mobile hotspot deal seen.
      Am surprised that Boost has never advertised it or that you have never mentioned the 15 gig plan.

    18. $50 boost UNLIMITED plan hotspot 8 gig data was not reduced by on phone app. operamax VPN did not reduce any hotspot data.

    Comment Page :