Boost Mobile is another virtual network operator, this time piggybacking on the Sprint network. It’s built with no monthly contracts like some of the best cell phone providers, using pre-paid options only, offers up to 5G streaming and most of its plans, bar one, give you unlimited data.
Boost Mobile review: Prepaid plans
- From $35 a month
- Top end is $80 a month
With no contract plans, Boost Mobile is focussed on Prepaid options. The basic entry-level plan costs $35 a month and gives you unlimited data, talk and text, plus 3GB of data per month including using your phone as a mobile hotspot. That’s just $5 more than a similar plan with Consumer Mobile.
Beyond the basic plan, you step up into unlimited data territory, each plan also includes unlimited phone calls and text messages. The main differences between plans are the amount of hotspot data you’re allowed and the media streaming options.
With Unlimited Gigs ($50 a month) you get SD quality streaming services, music streaming at 500Kbps and up to 12GB of Hotspot data; Boost Unlimited Plus ($60 a month) gives you HD video streaming, 1.5Mbps of music streaming, 5G and up to 30GB of data; Ultimate Unlimited ($80 a month) gives you HD video streaming, 1.5Mbps music streaming, 5G and up to 50GB of hotspot data. In all cases there’s no cap on the amount of video streaming that you use.
These prices include a single line, although you can add additional lines if you require them
Beyond the basic services, Boost Mobile sets itself apart from many other virtual providers with its list of optional add ons. These include Boost Shield phone insurance and McAffe Security ($7 a month), unlimited HD media streaming ($10 a month) and Visual Voicemail (from free to $2.99 a month depending on the plan you require).
Boost Mobile review: International calling
- Low price international call packages
- No international roaming
If you want to make international calls, Boost Mobile has a couple of plans that can help. For $5 a month, you can get Todo Mexico Plus, which gives you unlimited calls to and from Mexico, unlimited calls to Canada, unlimited international texting and up to 8GB of roaming data in Mexico.
Add International Connect Plus ($10 a month) and you get all the same features as above plus unlimited calls to landlines in 70+ countries (including large parts of Europe and Australia), plus 200 minutes of mobile calls to 50+ countries (again, most of Europe and Australia), plus reduced call rates in o other countries.
According to Boost’s FAQ there are currently no plans that allow for international roaming with the company stating, “If your device meets all requirements, you may be eligible to have it unlocked which would let you use it internationally on another provider's service.”
If you travel internationally a lot, you may need to look at a different cell phone provider to get the best roaming deals.
Boost Mobile review: Cell phone options
- The latest Apple iPhones
- Smaller choice of Android phones
Although you can bring your own phone to Boost Mobile, the company also sells handsets directly (check out our best smartphone buying guide). There’s a full choice of Apple iPhone models, including the latest models. Boost Mobile also has a range of Android phones, although the selection is more limited, with Coolpad, LG, Samsung and Motorola phones. We also found that the latest handsets aren’t available; for example, you can’t buy the Samsung Galaxy S20.
Boost Mobile review: Coverage and speed performance
- Uses the Sprint network
- Data throttling on all plans
Boost Mobile uses the Sprint Wireless network in the US, which is one of the big four. However, Sprint does come bottom out of the top four in both the latest RootMetrics and Speedtest.net results. The main issue with Sprint Wireless is that coverage isn’t so good in rural areas.
To help try and combat this, Boost Mobile provides domestic voice roaming to other providers, which the company claims gives it 99% voice coverage. Each month, you get 50 minutes of national voice roaming (no data), so you can at least stay in contact when you move outside of an area covered by the Sprint Wireless network.
All plans come with a caveat that says that throttling (data deprioritization) occurs during periods of network congestion. Available speeds, therefore, will be highly dependent on location and time of day.
Boost Mobile review: What users say
- B rating from Better Business Bureau
- Mixed user reviews
Boost Mobile scores highly in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Performance Study, coming second overall with a score of 851 - that’s higher than the budget, big-brand Metro by T-Mobile.
The Better Business Bureau rates Boost Mobile a solid B (the review links through to Sprint, as Boost is a subsidiary), although user reviews are far more mixed: a score of one from BBB, a score of 2.6 from ConsumerAffairs and a score of 3 from TrustPilot.
Complaints about Boost mobile are around the quality of network coverage, particularly for data. Those that like the service talk about the quality of the customer service.
Boost Mobile review: Verdict
Boost Mobile has some interesting plans, including high hotspot usage, which could be useful for anyone that tethers a lot. In some cases, the higher hotspot limits could help offset the slightly higher contract prices when compared to the likes of Metro by T-Mobile.
A lack of international roaming and data de-prioritization during congestion may also make a competitor a better deal for others.