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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where you at?

So today's post will be about my first look into the individual prepaid carriers.

As I shared in my previous post, my girlfriend and her mom are current customers of Boost Mobile. Overall they seem very happy with the service and are enjoying watching their costs shrink.  Read on to see if Boost is a viable option.



http://www.boostmobile.com/

**UPDATED Blackberry plan**




The stats:



Gone are the silly "Where you at?" commericals and the iDen walkie talkie phones are soon to disappear, although it still makes me laugh.



Boost Mobile is the prepaid carrier of Sprint.  They have received 2 consecutive J.D. Power award for their excellent customer satisfaction. Their network is everywhere Sprint currently is, but no roaming is offered.  They just rolled out "4G" but, it is on the WiMax, not the new Sprint LTE that is currently being planned and launched.  I have also added a map of the east coast and Philly area where I primarily live and travel.  You will pretty much find coverage along every major highway in the US, so if you travel, you will most likely have access in major areas.



Boost offers 3G and 4G which runs on the CDMA and WiMax networks, so you wont be able to bring your own phone like some GSM prepaid carriers.  There are options to hack Verizon and other CDMA phones by flashing them to work on Boost.  Speeds are not that impressive, ranging up to about 2 Mbps down at best. WiMax is hit or miss on speeds to my understanding, but since more people who have Sprint are and will be shifting to their LTE smartphones which should lighten the load on the WiMax networks allowing more speeds.  WiMax is being replaced by Sprint. I do not know for sure how long it will be supported on Boost but I would imagine for quite a few years provided people use the service.

The Plans:

Boost offers several options, but I will be focusing on the Shrinkage based plans. Plans will shrink by $5 in cost every 6 consecutive payments, until you reach the maximum discount of $15.  If for some reason you miss payment, you do not have to restart for shrinkage and you will get credit for each monthly payment. 411 calls are included at no cost. There is a $10 fee to reactivate suspended accounts, so beware of that if you may have trouble paying each month.  Boost also offers phone insurance for $5 a month for those looking to protect more hefty investments in phones.

$50 Monthly Unlimited Plan:


Pretty straight forward.  Unlimited Minutes, texts and data for "dumb" phones.  Pretty great deal since this plan ends up at $35 after 18 payments.  Currently there are 6 phones to choose from.

$55 Android Plan:


Same deal applies here.  Unlimited minutes, texting and data (3G).  Boost offers 4G service with one phone at the moment on the EVO Design 4G (with Android 4.0.  Data on 4G is capped at 2.5 GB per month (not completely unfair) and can be throttled at Boost's discretion there after. Overall really good value now with 4G available and dropping to $40 per month after 18 payments.  Quite a few options of phones available

$60 45 Blackberry Plan:

Good if you are stuck on Blackberry messanger.  I have never used a Blackberry, but to each their own.

Drops to $45 30 per month after 18 payments, but there is only one phone available.

Boost is changing the price down $15 starting July 10th!!

My opinion:


Overall I think Boost is on the right track.  Offering very competitive service against the major carriers.  Those of us who are sick and tired of paying out the Wazoo for cellular service can look at Boost and are able to see the best bang for our buck.  I am more seriously considering Boost due to the intro of 4G WiMax.  Hopefully some speed tests will show up in the future to sway me more in their direction.

Pros:

Great customer service and satisfaction
Decent selection of phones
4G WiMax service in select cities
Shrinking payments which is a huge savings over time
Great coverage and connection in major metropolitan areas
Top end 4G phone is only $300

Cons:

Limited service in more remote areas
Cannot bring your own phone (Galaxy nexus anyone?)
4G data cap of GB (some people are big data users)
No roaming agreements, so you could simply lose connection even for 911.
Phone choices not updated as frequently as some may want.

2 comments:

  1. Can I use an old Sprint phone, say an EVO 4G, that is not currently on their list of phones they offer? Can I do it openly without having to flash, etc.? In other words, what's their BYOD policy, especially as concerns old Sprint phones? I couldn't find that information on their web page.

    Awesome blog, btw. There is a very strong tendancy for prepaid providers to imply if not outright require you to buy one of their relatively low-performing phones in order to use their service. We definitely need more transparancy before prepaid offers a great alternative.

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    Replies
    1. Hey there,

      I have done a little research on flashing a device to Boost. I had an original Droid Incredible on Verizon and there is a way to flash the necessary software.

      Here is one website that I found with a quick google search. They charge for flashing, but I guess that is better than having to buy a new phone. http://www.flashedphones.net/?gclid=CJXngPf_7rACFUFo4AodZDyxwA#/splash-page/

      I am sure with more research you can find other folks who will do it for less than what they are charging.

      Here is some more info. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120313111238AANsSgX

      http://www.pugetsoundelectronics.com/Boost-Mobile-Flashing-guides_c5.htm


      Thanks for the feedback and the comment. Don't forget to follow the blog for more updates as I post them. I am currently in contact with another prepaid carrier to see if they will lend me a phone so I can review their entire service. I hope to post as frequently as possible :)

      -Matt

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