Boost Mobile logo on phone stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Boost Mobile was Sprint’s top MVNO in the years before the T-Mobile merger. Now, it’s been acquired as the flagship member of Dish Network’s mobile service. However, it’s still Boost at heart and definitely worth your money. If you have a long list of carrier-based questions, this handy guide should help put your mind at ease.

See also: Best Boost Mobile deals

Like most MVNOs, Boost doesn’t go for post-paid service, but we’ll walk you through all of your pre-paid options. A network isn’t complete without the right device either, so we’ve covered some of your best bets there, too. Finally, we’ve added information on other cost-saving MVNOs for you to consider.

Boost Mobile at a glance

Boost began its journey as an Australian carrier in 2000 before coming to the United States in 2001. It was acquired by Sprint Nextel in 2005 and began launching unlimited plans in 2006. Boost remained with Sprint until 2020 when it passed to Dish Network as part of the merger with T-Mobile. All previous Sprint-based customers will slowly transition to the T-Mobile network while new customers automatically use T-Mobile service.

The T-Mobile merger is likely to prove beneficial for the MVNO as new customers will be on the massive nationwide network without any extra hoops to jump through. You can check out the entire coverage map right here. We also tracked down Boost Mobile at the Better Business Bureau and found that it carries an A-plus rating. This is fairly rare for a carrier, though it only manages a one-star customer average.

Pre-paid Boost Mobile plans

As mentioned before, there are no post-paid plans available through Boost Mobile, but there are quite a few prepaid options and add-ons available. None of the plans include baked-in international access, but you can add calls and texts for as little as $5 per month. All of the available plans include Boost Perks for giveaways, deals, and more. Since its move to Dish Network, Boost has even added more affordable low-capacity data plans.

You have a total of seven plans to choose from, so get the quick facts from the table below:

1GB Plan2GB Plan5GB Plan10GB PlanShrink It!Go UnlimitedGo Unlimited Plus
Cost
1GB Plan:
$10 per month
2GB Plan:
$15 per month
5GB Plan:
$25 per month
10GB Plan:
$35 per month
Shrink It!:
$45 per month
$40 after three on-time payments
$35 after six on-time payments
Go Unlimited:
$50 for one line
$80 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$140 for four lines
Go Unlimited Plus:
$60 for one line
$100 for two lines
$140 for three lines
$180 for four lines
Talk and Text
1GB Plan:
Unlimited
2GB Plan:
Unlimited
5GB Plan:
Unlimited
10GB Plan:
Unlimited
Shrink It!:
Unlimited
Go Unlimited:
Unlimited
Go Unlimited Plus:
Unlimited
Data
1GB Plan:
1GB 4G LTE
2GB Plan:
2GB 4G LTE
5GB Plan:
5GB 4G LTE
10GB Plan:
10GB 4G LTE per month
Shrink It!:
15GB 4G LTE per month
Can add data at any time
Go Unlimited:
Unlimited
Go Unlimited Plus:
Unlimited
Hotspot
1GB Plan:
Included up to data cap
2GB Plan:
Included up to data cap
5GB Plan:
Included up to data cap
10GB Plan:
Included up to data cap
Shrink It!:
Included up to data cap
Go Unlimited:
12GB included
Go Unlimited Plus:
30GB included
International
1GB Plan:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
2GB Plan:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
5GB Plan:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
10GB Plan:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
Shrink It!:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
Go Unlimited:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
Go Unlimited Plus:
Todo Mexico Plus available for $5 per month
International Connect Plus available for $10 per month
Extras
1GB Plan:
Available to new in-store customers only
2GB Plan:
Available to new in-store customers only
5GB Plan:
Available to new customers only
10GB Plan:
Standard Definition streaming
Shrink It!:
Standard Definition streaming
Go Unlimited:
Tidal for 6 months
Standard Definition streaming
Go Unlimited Plus:
Tidal for 6 months
High Definition streaming

Limited-capacity data plans

The most affordable way to make the switch is to get one of the limited data plans. You get unlimited talk and text along with up to 10GB of data to do whatever you want with. It’s a great plan as long as you know you can stay below the cap, but your data access cuts off entirely when you hit that limit. The available limits include 1GB, 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB, and each of the first three options costs around $5 per gig.

Highlights:

  • Starts at just $10 per month per line
  • Up to 10GB of 4G LTE data per line for any purpose

Best for:

  • Low data users looking to save some money

Shrink It!

When you’re great at paying on time, you deserve to get rewarded for it. At least, that’s the idea behind Boost’s Shrink It! plan. Access starts at $45 per line per month, but after just three on-time payments, it drops to $40. Three more on-time payments will knock another $5 per month off, so you pay just $35. Even better, your on-time payments don’t have to be in a row, so one late month doesn’t mean starting over.

Outside of the great price, the Shrink It! plan offers 15GB of high-speed data access and unlimited talk and text. You can use that data to feed a mobile hotspot and even add data packages as recurring monthly bonuses. However, those add-ons cannot be used as hotspot fodder according to the fine print.

Highlights:

  • Save money by paying on time
  • 15GB of expandable high-speed data

Best for:

  • Customers who pay on time and want a healthy pool of data

Go Unlimited

If you want truly unlimited access, but you may not be as worried about top-end speeds, the Go Unlimited plan is the way to go. You’ll get as much talk and text as you could want and unlimited access to the 4G LTE network. The only reason we point out the lack of top-end speeds is that music is limited to 500Kbps, and gaming sticks to 2Mbps.

Starting at just $50 per month, you’ll also have access to 12GB of high-speed hotspot data and six months of Tidal streaming.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited 4G LTE access
  • 12GB of hotspot with each line

Best for:

  • Data users who don’t want limits but don’t need top-end streaming speeds

Go Unlimited Plus

All of you speed demons considering a switch to Boost Mobile should head right for the Go Unlimited Plus plan. You can use your unlimited talk, text, and data however you please, and each line comes with 30GB of high-speed hotspot access. Six months of Tidal access are on par with the other options, but the streaming speeds really set Go Unlimited Plus apart.

If you’re itching for some music, you’ll be able to stream at 1.5Mbps. Gaming streams at an impressive 8Mbps, and video is available in high definition 1080p resolution. It’s really the media lover’s mobile plan.

Highlights:

  • 30GB of hotspot access per line
  • The fastest streaming speeds on Boost Mobile

Best for:

  • Users who spend all day streaming with their phones

Boost Mobile Add-ons and hotspot plans

Basic service just might not be enough for all users, so Boost Mobile has various options you can add to your service. Add-ons range from an HD boost to safe tracking for your family. The prices will vary, though, so be careful how many you add.

Check out the table for prices:

PerkCost
Perk:
International Services
Cost:
$5 per month for Todo Mexico Plus
$10 per month for International Connect Plus
Perk:
Boost Shield
Cost:
$7 per month
Perk:
Secure Wi-Fi
Cost:
Free app plus $2 per month subscription
Perk:
HD Buy Up
Cost:
$10 per month
Perk:
Safe and Found
Cost:
$7 per month
Perk:
Call Screener Plus
Cost:
$3 per month
Perk:
Visual Voicemail
Cost:
Basic is free
Ad-free is $0.50 per month
Premium is $2.99 per month
Perk:
AirG
Cost:
Free app
$5 per month for VIP
Perk:
50GB Hotspot Plan
Cost:
$50 per month

International Services

One of the only drawbacks to Boost Mobile’s plans is the lack of international access. If you want to call Canada, Mexico, or any other country, it will cost you. The Todo Mexico Plus add-on offers unlimited talk and text both to and from Mexico and unlimited calls to Canada. You can also take 8GB on the road with you for a trip south of the border.

The more expensive International Connect Plus plan swaps that roaming access for unlimited landline calls to 70 countries and 200 minutes for mobile calls in 50 of those countries. If you want to call other countries or you burn through your minutes, International Connect Plus slashes rates for 200 or more destinations.

Boost Shield

Let’s face it — drops happen. Even with a heavy-duty case on your phone, it’s important to have a little extra protection. Boost Shield adds insurance for physical damage and McAfee software for a layer of digital protection. At just $7 per month, it’s more affordable than having to replace a screen or pick up a brand-new phone.

Secure Wi-Fi

Going along with the added security of Boost Shield, Secure Wi-Fi offers protection while you browse online. Whether you’re on a private network or at a public coffee shop, Secure Wi-Fi works somewhat like a VPN and protects your passwords as well as your sites.

HD Buy Up

Since you’ve already gone through each one of the plans Boost has to offer, you’ve probably noticed a lack of high-definition options. HD Buy Up can change that, though, and turns your standard definition quality into luxurious 1080p content. This add-on kicks music streaming up to 1.5Mbps levels and gaming up to 8Mbps levels too.

Safe and Found

The COVID-19 lockdowns have made it pretty easy to keep track of your family members, but they — probably — won’t last forever. Once your family can venture back out into the world, it might offer some peace of mind to know where they are and receive emergency alerts. Safe and Found also adds parental control functionality to other devices on your account.

Call Screener Plus

Before you answer any phone call, you probably look to see who’s calling. Unfortunately, the answer is often spam. Call Screener Plus helps to save some of that wasted time by analyzing numbers and eliminating likely spam options for you. You might be able to screen your mother-in-law too, but we can’t advocate for family chaos.

Visual Voicemail

If you skip on Call Screener Plus, or you get a high volume of voicemails, you may want a visual option to keep track of them. After all, it can be hard to understand the messages you receive sometimes. The Visual Voicemail takes each phone message and converts it into text so you can read it for all of the right details.

AirG

AirG is another add-on that’s perfect for the COVID-19 age. It’s an app that lets you connect with people near and far to play games and write in forums. Don’t worry, though; there’s a kid-friendly version where your little ones can play educational games with no ads or in-app purchases.

50GB Boost Mobile Hotspot

One last add-on you might consider when you join Boost Mobile is a 50GB hotspot plan. Sure, all of the plans offer a built-in hotspot, but none of them comes close to a 50GB capacity. You can work from anywhere or stream movies on long car rides to keep your kids calm in the back seat. Boost also has a Coolpad Surf hotspot device in case you need a way to host your data.

Which of Boost Mobile’s plans is right for you?

Boost Mobile switch button

It’s tough to recommend one Boost Mobile plan for all users. Instead, you’ll have a better time weighing your needs against our table above. If you plan to use mountains of data wherever you are, go for an unlimited option. However, if you don’t use much data and always pay on time, then the Shrink It! plan will pay you back.

If you can swing it, the Shrink It! plan beats even the Everything You Need plan, thanks to the 5GB of extra data. As long as you make your on-time payments, the prices will even out after a while. Music lovers might do best with the 3GB of 4G LTE data plan, though, because Spotify and other top options don’t count against the total usage.

Boost Mobile plans vs the competition

Metro by T Mobile logo on phone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Comparing Boost Mobile to the competition is an interesting task right now. It used to rely on Sprint, but now new customers will be using the T-Mobile network until Dish gets its own structure in place. For the time being, it aligns closest with Metro by T-Mobile, Visible, Cricket Wireless, and Google Fi as far as top alternatives are concerned. Check out the table below for a closer look at each option.

Metro by T-Mobile Better UnlimitedVisibleCricket Wireless Cricket MoreGoogle Fi UnlimitedBoost Mobile Unlimited Plus
Cost
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$120 for four lines
Visible:
$40 per line
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
Google Fi Unlimited:
$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$50 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus:
$60 for one line
$100 for two lines
$140 for three lines
$180 for four lines
Talk and Text
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
Unlimited
Visible:
Unlimited
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Unlimited
Google Fi Unlimited:
Unlimited
Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus:
Unlimited
Data
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
Unlimited up to 35GB
Visible:
Unlimited
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Unlimited
Google Fi Unlimited:
Unlimited up to 22GB 4G LTE
Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus:
Unlimited
Host Network
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
T-Mobile
Visible:
Verizon
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
AT&T
Google Fi Unlimited:
T-Mobile
US Cellular
Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus:
Sprint
T-Mobile
International
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
Available
Visible:
Not Available
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Mexico and Canada usage up to 50%
Texting to 37 countries
Google Fi Unlimited:
Free calls to over 50 countries
Free texts and data abroad
Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus:
Add-ons available
Extras
Metro by T-Mobile Better Unlimited:
100GB Google One storage
Amazon Prime
15GB Mobile hotspot
Visible:
Mobile hotspot
Cricket Wireless Cricket More:
Standard Definition streaming
15GB Mobile hotspot
Google Fi Unlimited:
Full-speed hotspot
Google One membership
Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus:
30GB of hotspot per line
Tidal Hi-Fi for six months

Metro by T-Mobile

Metro is its own carrier in many ways, but it’s wholly owned by T-Mobile and acts as an MVNO on the network. That means it can offer a unique set of plans with varying talk, text, and data at great rates.

The carrier’s unlimited plans each include 100GB of Google One cloud storage, and the $60 plan comes with an Amazon Prime membership. Metro’s plans don’t include international service in the base price, but you can add talk and text to hundreds of countries for a price.

Highlights:

  • 10GB 4G LTE data from $40 per month
  • Hotspot data included on unlimited plans
  • 100GB Google One storage with unlimited plans

Google Fi

A single carrier doesn’t own Google Fi, and that’s good news for you regarding service. The hybrid MVNO uses T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular towers to switch to the best signal available constantly. Fi supports an absolutely massive list of phones, covering options from many major US manufacturers and Huawei and even Red Hydrogen.

As for the plan, Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan is a great international option. You can call over 50 countries and territories for free, and contact with other areas can start at just one penny. Each line gets unlimited data up to 22GB, a Google One membership, and full-speed hotspot tethering. If you want to save a few bucks, you can try the Simply Unlimited plan as well.

Highlights:

  • Impressive phone support
  • Plenty of international connection
  • Google One membership included

Cricket Wireless

Cricket’s most expensive option, the Cricket More plan, offers the best Cricket has to offer along with 15GB of a monthly hotspot. You can text 37 other countries, and you can even use your service in Canada or Mexico as long as it’s less than 50% of your overall usage.

Many of the best Cricket features are available as add-ons, so it’s easy to run your bill up by a few bucks. However, that’s really the secret to unlocking Cricket’s full potential. Options include more hotspot data, better international access, and extra data on select plans.

Highlights:

  • Customizable service with add-ons
  • 15GB of hotspot included

Visible

Last but not least, we have Verizon’s wholly-owned MVNO, Visible. Unlike the others, there’s just one plan to choose from, and it offers unlimited talk, text, and 4G or 5G data. You can use as much of that data for a hotspot as you please, and now you can call select North American neighbors.

One of the best reasons to choose Visible’s service is the revamped Party Pay feature. You can go in with up as many friends as you want, and you’ll each cut your bill down to $25 per month. If one of you pays late, it won’t even impact the other partiers.

Highlights:

  • One simple plan
  • Party Pay can save you $15 per month

Looking for other MVNOs similar to Boost Mobile?

Boost Mobile is already an affordable alternative to the Big Three carriers, but what if it’s not for you? We can’t really offer Sprint-based alternatives as the network is slowly converting, but there are many T-Mobile MVNOs you can consider. Here are a few of our favorites, broken down for easy skimming:

Google FiMetro by T-MobileMint MobileStraight TalkUS Mobile
Cost
Google Fi:
Flexible plan starts at $20 for one line and $10 per GB of data
Unlimited starts at $70 per line
Metro by T-Mobile:
$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$120 for four lines
Mint Mobile:
Plans start at $25 per month after intro promo
Straight Talk:
Basic plans start at $30 per month
Unlimited plans start at $35 per month
US Mobile:
Build your own plan for as little as $5 per month
Unlimited starts at $40 per month
Talk & Text
Google Fi:
Unlimited
Metro by T-Mobile:
Unlimited
Mint Mobile:
Unlimited
Straight Talk:
Basic plan includes 1,500 minutes
Unlimited on other plans
US Mobile:
As little as 75 minutes and 50 texts
Up to unlimited
Data
Google Fi:
Pay per GB on the Flexible plan
Unlimited up to 22GB on the Unlimited plan
Metro by T-Mobile:
Unlimited up to 35GB
Mint Mobile:
3GB for $25
8GB for $35
12GB for $45
Unlimited for $40
Straight Talk:
Basic plan includes 100MB
Other plans range from 5GB to unlimited
US Mobile:
As little as 50MB
Up to unlimited
Hotspot
Google Fi:
Full-speed available at per GB rate
Full speed available with unlimited
Metro by T-Mobile:
15GB included
Mint Mobile:
Included with your data cap
Straight Talk:
10GB hotspot included with unlimited (Not available with AT&T SIMs)
US Mobile:
Included with custom plans
Add-ons available
International
Google Fi:
Flexible includes unlimited texts, low rate for calls, $10 per GB
Unlimited includes data and texts, low rate for calls outside of included list
Metro by T-Mobile:
Available as an add-on
Mint Mobile:
Calling to Mexico and Canada
Straight Talk:
Global calling cards available
US Mobile:
Up to 10GB free
Traveller and Jetsetter add-ons available
Extras
Google Fi:
Flexible plan has a monthly cost cap
Unlimited includes a Google One membership
Metro by T-Mobile:
Google One membership
Amazon Prime membership
Mint Mobile:
Free SIM Card
Straight Talk:
None
US Mobile:
Pick your perks with multi-line unlimited plans

Google Fi

We’ve already talked about the Google-owned MVNO as a direct competitor, but it makes for a good budget option too. Thanks to the low-cost, flexible plans, you can pay per gig of data and never go over a certain limit. It’s a great option for travel abroad too, with data and text included in many countries.

Metro by T-Mobile

Metro is another familiar face as it’s basically a half-sibling of Boost. It was the original T-Mobile-owned MVNO and offered similar perks for many of its plans. You might find that it’s easier to sign up for Metro, too, as it’s not undergoing the same network switch process.

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile, the carrier owned by Ryan Reynolds, is an affordable alternative for service if you mostly want limited data. However, there’s a new unlimited plan that’s worth a second look. Limited plans range from 4GB to 15GB, and you’ll never pay more than $35 per month for one line of service. You may not get much by way of extra perks, but if you sign up for multi-month plans, you’ll save even more money.

Straight Talk

One of the easiest MVNOs to sign up for, Straight Talk is available at most Walmart locations and actually supports most of the main carriers. You can go for a limited talk option with just a little bit of data or spend more for unlimited service. Affordability is key, so you’ll pay a bit extra for bonus features like international access, but Straight Talk is an easy way to grab the basics.

US Mobile

If you want a plan that’s perfectly tailored to your needs, US Mobile is the way to go. You can choose your ideal level of talk, text, and data for as little as $5 per month or go unlimited for $40. 5G access is even a standard feature on all plans now. When you add multiple lines of unlimited, you’ll get the chance to add subscription services like Disney Plus, Spotify, and Playstation Plus.

What phones can you use on Boost Mobile?

Moto G Power 2021 camera macro
David Imel / Android Authority

Like many low-cost MVNOs, Boost Mobile skews towards affordable devices from many of the major manufacturers. You can get flagship favorites like the iPhone 11 family and the Samsung Galaxy S20, but here are some of your best chances to save money:

As you can see, there are plenty of budget-friendly devices available from Boost. If you want to dig into even more choices, check out our list of the best Boost mobile phones you can get.

If you love the phone you’ve got, it’s pretty easy to bring with you. You’ll have to remember that new customers will be on a T-Mobile-based version of Boost so you’ll need a GSM phone. A CDMA phone would have worked months prior, but the merger and subsequent sale to Dish have changed that for good.

See also: The best Android phones | Best cheap Android phones

As with any carrier, the most important factor in bringing a phone is band support. Check the table below for all of the T-Mobile 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE bands you’ll need to support a device.

FrequencyBandNetwork Supported
Frequency:
39GHz
Band:
N260
Network Supported:
5G mmWave
Frequency:
28GHz
Band:
N261
Network Supported:
5G mmWave
Frequency:
1900MHz
Band:
2
Network Supported:
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency:
1700/2100MHz
Band:
4
66
Network Supported:
3G and 4G LTE
4G LTE
Frequency:
850MHz
Band:
5
Network Supported:
4G LTE
Frequency:
700MHz
Band:
12
Network Supported:
4G LTE
Frequency:
600MHz
Band:
71
Network Supported:
4G LTE
5G