Boost Mobile - No Contract Cellular

Who is Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile was, at one time, a subsidiary of Cingular Cellular. Before AT&T reacquired the company it was the largest cell-phone service provider in the U.S. As such it was co-owned by AT&T and Bellsouth. As of now Boost Mobile is a division of AT&T Wireless.

Despite the lack of contract, you still have to notify Boost Mobile to cancel and end the bills. (see Coda below). Let's be honest here; that is still a contract.

Boost Mobile has both brick-and-mortar stores as well as online shopping. The site is easy to navigate and the plans and phones offered are clearly explained. However, the author is almost certain there is a setup fee, but has been able to find it. Worse the site is designed to take you through the order process so that you can find out what you are buying and paying for. Credit card information is asked for before the consumer sees any totals and this makes the site harrowing to navigate. The author decided not to.

You still pay up-front, for the phone, the service, and probably the setup as well. Unlike pre-paid you are billed month-to-month. Of course you can change your plan when you wish and even order a different phone. The phone prices appear to be the actual price, not a discounted "loss-leader" for a two year commitment.

Boost Mobile offers an astounding twenty-two (22) phones including models by Blackberry, Motorola, Samsung, and Sanyo. None of the phones are "free." The cheapest is a Motorola i290 and the most expensive a Motorola i9 at $249.00. Boost claims that shipping is free on all of their phones.

According to BoostMobile you can cancel anytime, but from reading both positive (few) and negative (many) reviews, there are clearly problems with billing, charges, service, and customer support.

From what the author has read of other "no contract" services this is no surprise.

Logo
Logo | Source

No Contract, Big Commitment

BoostMobile claims there's no contract, but since you have to call to end service and failing to call to stop service will continue the billing, the no contract claim is just plainly not true.

If you as a consumer are obligated to pay, and will not be able to end billing without a request, you are bound by a contract. Even the service agreement page is plainly a contract.

So, when Boost Mobile claims there's no contract, that isn't even remotely true. There is no traditional two year contract, but you are contracting with Boost for their service and a contract must be in force in order for Boost to bill you. That's the plain and simple truth.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Blackberry 8530Sanyo Juno (also comes in blue)Motorola i9Motorola i290
Blackberry 8530
Blackberry 8530 | Source
Sanyo Juno (also comes in blue)
Sanyo Juno (also comes in blue) | Source
Motorola i9
Motorola i9 | Source
Motorola i290
Motorola i290 | Source

The Phones

The author is not about to attempt to cover all twenty-fwo (22) phones, but he will name them all. As of January 15, 2011, Boost offers:

Though the count above is clearly fourteen (14) the other eight (8) phones are color variations on the Motorola i465, Sanyo Juno, Motorola i856 and Motorola i9.

The Plans

BoostMobile only offers four basic plans and an extension to two of those plans. Two are unlimited, but differ in price depending on whether or not a Blackberry is involved. If any phone other than the Blackberry is chosen the plan is $50.00; If Blackberry the plan is $60.00.

Another plan is Daily Unlimited which is billed at $2.00 a day (that's another $60 minimum folks). This averages out to $61 a month. The author is quite literally scratching his head over this one.

Then there is the "Pay as You Go" plan which bills you 10¢ a minute for calls, 10¢ per text, 35¢ a day for Internet access, 25¢ per message for pictures and instant messaging combined, 99¢ a day for instant messaging only, 99¢ a day for email, and finally $1.29 for each directory assistance call. The author is not going to bother trying to break this down; it's a buffet plan where every single item of usage costs.

Finally Boost offers an International extension for international calling at $5.00 per month. This extension is not available on the $2.00 a day plan or the pay as you go plan. Interestingly enough, you still have to pay international charges on top of the $5.00.

The Phones
Unlike Consumer Cellular and GreatCall, the phones offered range from bare minimum phones to smartphones. True, you can't get much more basic than the cheapest phones, but the smartphones are proven powerhouses and the intermediate phones have good ratings too.

The Minutes
A separate purchase is made to buy minutes. There are only two real plans (depending on Blackberry ownership) and a faux savings with the "Daily Unlimited" which works out to the exact same price as the Blackberry unlimited.

The Text and Pictures
Want text with that? Not a problem, text is included in the everything plans. Want internet access? Also included in the everything plans. Pictures, email and messaging all included in the everything plans. How refreshing.

In fact, unless you buy the "Pay as you Go" plan pretty much everything is included with no additional charge.

Shrinkage

This is likely the most dubiously named marketing idea yet.

Still, what it means is that Boost rewards you for paying your bill on time. After six months of on-time payments your plan rate drops from $50.00 to $45.00. After another six months of timely payments the rate drops from $45.00 to $40. Finally, if the bill has been paid in a timely manner at eighteen months the rate drops from the original $50.00 to $35.00. Not bad if true.

The Blackberry plan follows the same pattern as above, but is $10.00 higher at each tier. So, the first six months of service are billed at $60.00 and after six months of on time payments the plan drops to $55.00, then at twelve months, $50.00, then at eighteen months $45.00. Again payments must made on time, every time, for this to work. You also have to sign up for this plan.

Boost Mobile is clearly attempting brand loyalty with a carrot and stick approach. Someone had to do it.

Verdict

Unless you just can't stomach a two year commitment or can't stand the idea of being stuck with the same phone for that amount of time, this is nothing more than another high priced, low rating, cellular service. At least it does not target the elderly.

The negative reviews alone would give the author nightmares and the prices are (how do I put this gently) insane! In fact the only positive point the author found was the so called Shrinkage offer. But you have to sign up for it and you have to never miss a payment for it to take effect.

Coda

The Boost Mobile "no contract" service is most certainly a contract, just not a two year commitment. The phones are pricey, the plans limited (and somewhat ridiculous since the key amount here seems to be $60.00 no matter what) and just as with Consumer Cellular and Great Call everything beyond the phone, wall charger, and manual is extra and at full retail price at that.

Boost Mobile has an extraordinary number of complaints. Some involve dropped calls (everyone has dropped calls), but most have to do with overcharges, billing errors, and attempts to stop the service that are ignored. There are a some stellar reviews, but they are few and far between.

Just as with the other "no contract" providers reviewed the sole intent seems to be to charge for as many things as possible while providing only standard service. Oddly, the costs are no different than a regular contract, there's just the implied promise that you can quit anytime.

Diclaimer

The author was not compensated in any way, monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.

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