With competition in the prepaid wireless arena heating up, Sprint subsidiary Boost Mobile is overhauling its usual monthly plans.
The carrier confirmed the introduction of its new “Monthly Unlimited Select” plans this week, which start at $40 per month for unlimited talking and texting, as well as 500 MB of Sprint 3G and 4G data. A $50 option bumps the data allowance up to 2.5 GB, while a $60 option nets up to 5 GB.
Per usual with plans like these, users who go over their allotment of data will have their speeds temporarily slowed, in this case to a 2G connection. The new rates apply to all Boost Mobile phones, and include a handful of add-on perks, such as a “Mobile Wallet” feature that lets users directly deposit paychecks from their phone to a Visa debit card account.
The Monthly Unlimited Select options replace Boost’s old $50 and $55 monthly rates, which applied to basic phones and smartphones, respectively. They also remove the company’s trademark “Shrinking Payments” feature, which rewarded loyal customers by knocking up to $15 off of their regular monthly payments after a certain period of time.
The new plans appear to follow the lead of T-Mobile and its recently-acquired MetroPCS subsidiary. That service already offers the same rates and data allowances as the new Boost plans, but uses T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and HSPA+ networks, which cover a wider area than Sprint’s still-developing 4G network.
T-Mobile as a whole has been aggressive in lowering typical mobile rates over the past several months, proclaiming itself the “Uncarrier” and unveiling its own $40 monthly plan early last month. Larger competitors like AT&T also look to be getting in on the prepaid pricing war, as Ma Bell closed a $1.2 billion acquisition of prepaid carrier Leap Wireless this past March.
Rumors of a potential merger between Sprint and T-Mobile have swirled as of late, but for now, the Boost changes appear to come at something of a crucial time for the yellow carrier. T-Mobile’s renewed efforts in the prepaid segment appear to be winning over other carriers’ subscribers; last week, T-Mobile noted that it gained 465,000 prepaid customers in its first quarter, while Sprint reported that it lost 364,000 prepaid users over the same period.
Meanwhile, Sprint’s other prepaid subsidiary, Virgin Mobile, doesn’t look to be immediately affected by Boost’s new rates. When contacted for comment on what the changes mean for the Boost/Virgin relationship, Sprint Prepaid rep Jack Pflanz contended that the plans are about giving Boost a larger presence in the prepaid market more than anything else, even if that means competiting more directly with its sister brand.
“We’re part of an aggressive ecosystem so we’re all equally competitive with each other, but Boost’s offerings are catered to the needs of our customers,” he said. “We are in a constantly evolving prepaid market and are now introducing this new ‘hat trick’ of plans to compete on a broader scale in the no contract space, which Boost helped to define.”
Source: Boost Mobile