Sprint to Undercut Itself With $50 Boost Unlimited Plan

By  |  Friday, January 16, 2009 at 10:59 am

I don’t know but this seems just a bit odd to me. Sprint Nextel owned prepay company Boost Mobile is set to offer a $50 monthly plan which would give its users unlimited voice, text, data, and “chirp” (walkie-talkie for us less hip) beginning on January 22.

Unlike other prepay companies, who offer unlimited plans on a regional basis, Boost’s will be nationwide wherever the company offers service. Indeed, its promotional material highlights this important distinction.

There’s kind of a problem here though. Sprint has its own unlimited plan, which costs $99 per month. That gives the user unlimited data, text, and voice calling, but no walkie-talkie. So really, Sprint’s just taken the unusual step of competing with itself for whatever reason — and we all know they’re not exactly raking in the profits right now.

Indeed, the company is marketing as a way to directly compete with the bigger cellular companies, where offering these unlimited plans has become the in vogue thing to do. It also markets it as a way to get away from all the fees that our celluar providers are so fond of charging.

While I am thrilled to see Boost offering what is a really exceptional deal, I’m a little confused as to why they’d undercut themselves so much. I do have an hunch however that this might just be followed by an announcement by Sprint that they’re lowering the price of their unlimited plans as well.

Let the price wars begin. God knows we all need to save some money in this economy…


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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Eric Reid Says:

    Good catch – that is just about the best example of one hand being unaware of the other hand that I’ve ever heard of.

    But they do have the right idea: Everyone else is trying to get business through snazzy smartphone handsets, so they’ll go after the customer that needs to save money – and you’re right, there are a lot more of those customers around today!

  2. James Fisher Says:

    James Fisher from Sprint here… Let me explain — we are not undercutting ourselves, because we are reaching out to two entirely different customer bases. On the postpaid side, we reported in the third quarter that, after tightening credit standards last year, 83 percent of our postpaid customer base was prime credit. We are not taking on postpaid customers who are in difficult economic circumstances. However, those folks want and need wireless service that is tailored to their needs and financial circumstances. Our $50 plan — like Simply Everything for postpaid customers — is more simple and less expensive than the competition, offers nationwide network quality, and multiple service level options for customers who may be cash or credit challenged. Prepaid users are more focused on voice and texting, and are not data-heavy users like postpaid users are. For postpaid users who have handsets like the Instinct, Blackberries, Treos, Touch phones, etc. and use a lot of data services, $99 is a great value and cheaper than our competitors. So we are bringing simplicity, value and network peformance to all our customers and data plans to the ones who want that. If you look at the media reaction to our announcement this week, it’s clear that a lot of folks do understand why this is a good thing for Sprint.

  3. Ed Oswald Says:

    James, but isn’t that just assuming that those on prepay have bad credit? I know quite a few folks that won’t go on postpay just because of the whole contractual obligation idea.

  4. Greg Andrew Says:

    Users on this plan will only be able to use Nextel’s old iDEN network – no 3G speeds available – and Boost doesn’t exactly have the most attractive phone lineup. Those are the negatives.

    So Sprint doesn’t have to worry about any smartphone users switching to Boost to save money..

  5. J Mele Says:

    The target audience for the Boost service is really field service users who Sprint acquired when it bought NEXTEL, people like carpenters, appliance repair technicians, cable installers. They need “chirp” for dispatch, voice for problem solving and minimal data capability for running some basic java apps used to track billing time, job status and so on. Since there can be fairly high turnover among these employees, companies find the prepaid model easier to manage. The limited phone choices (the hardened handsets should be the give away on the market) and slower data speeds are not drawbacks for these users.

  6. Michael Perlman Says:

    Greg summed it up pretty well, IMHO. Sprint Nextel’s aging iDEN network (which Sprint brought in with the acquisition of Nextel) has spotty reliability for voice calls, and all data services operate at sub-2G speeds. About now, the only real benefits to sticking with idEN are the walkie-talkie, and for soem, the super-tough phones (which lack both flash and modern functions) that operate on the network.

  7. joey Says:

    I know that boost doesn’t have cool phones but what i did was i bought a pre paid boost phone.. took the sim card out and got me a Nextel 850 and it works like a charm.. the only thing is the text which it takes a few secs to download.. and regular text was getting sent to my sms box.. which was annoying but who cares! 50 bucks a month?????? you can’t beat that..

  8. Mike Says:

    I recently got on the Unlimited plan from Boost Mobile. Their lineup of phones is not that desirable. Needless to say, I bought a Nextel Blackberry Curve and simply switched sim cards from the phone I got with my Boost service to the Balckeberry Curve. Now I get to use a smartphone and not worry about my minutes. And yes, I get all the features on this phone, 3G, net, email, video/picture, everything.

  9. francis Says:

    I bought a Sprint Samsung model#SPH-M800 Instinct? anyway, I would like to get on a prepaid, unlimited text and all, how much will this cost me and is this phone that I bought from Craigslist compatible with a prepaid plan? Francis

  10. Mike Barton Says:

    One thing to remember with Boost is that, despite now offering CDMA and iDEN service, it does not come with roaming. With my shared Postpaid $129 Sprint plan (two phones, 1500minutes, unlimited text and data) I also get voice and EVDO data roaming on Verizon. That is the real sneaker deal witch all thos so dedicated to Verizon. Get the better deal on Sprint and use Verizon too. It comes with all or most of the unlimited plans, I am told.

  11. Kimberly Says:

    I couldn’t have picked a better title for this piece if I tried – as a Sprint customer it hits the financial nail on the head. While the Boost network might not be as “reliable” as the Sprint calling network, it is nonetheless the same main calling network and therefore, the only difference is name and contract status. I’m with Sprint and I love the network, but its been getting harder and harder to pay my bill these days and I can’t afford to break contract and move to another company. I think Sprint’s president needs to be made aware of just how important saving prob more than $50 could be to all his customers or at least making the option more known. Visit http://sites.google.com/site/sprintcustomersunite/ and make your voice heard.