Irvine’s Boost Mobile plans to do just that with a new cell phone plan that offers unlimited voice, text, web and walkie-talkie service for $50 a month. No roaming fees, no overage charges, no activation fees and no “telecom taxes.”
Umm … come again? No taxes?
“Tax does vary, between 2 to 12 percent. We’re taking care of those,” no matter where the customer lives, said Neil Lindsay, Boost’s vice president of marketing.
“The real message from us is that there is a lot of nickel and diming going on in wireless, specifically people who market low prices and then add on a convenience fee and whatever else. For us, $50 means $50.”
However, Lindsay said, some additional fees could appear. If users buy ring tones, or subscribe to a GPS navigation or social networking service, they’ll be charged for those features. Plus, there is sales tax on the phone or service. “We have no control over that,” Lindsay said.
Also in the new plan, Boost doesn’t offer full Internet access. It offers limited Web access over the old Nextel iDen network, known for its walkie-talkie communication. The iDen service uses WAP Internet (short for wireless aging protocol, I mean, wireless application protocol). With WAP, users can still browse headlines, check the weather and access Boost’s selected web services.
Boost currently offers other unlimited plans, such as its unlimited talk and text plan for $60/month. These plans use Sprint’s CDMA network. Boost will continue to support these customers but will no longer market these unlimited options. Unfortunately, if these customers want to switch to the new $50 unlimited plan, they’ll need to buy a new phone since the technology is different.
New and existing customers can switch to Boost’s new $50 unlimited plan on Jan. 22.
Boost’s move into the budget market began last fall, when it launched the CDMA unlimited plans. Previously, it targeted the young, hip and credit challenged.
It must have seen low-priced competitors like MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless wow consumers with low prices, which resulted in MetroPCS reporting last week that it saw subscribers grow 74 percent last quarter.
But both MetroPCS and Cricket are regional phone carriers with limited coverage areas. Some of their plans require a user to stay within a “home calling area.” Boost’s new plan doesn’t.
MetroPCS and Cricket share cellular networks so service is available in 300 cities. Calls made outside those 300 cities charge a roaming fee. Boost says that its service is available in 15,800 cities and there is no roaming fees.
“This isn’t a ‘get it cheap and then we’ll nickel and dime you.’ This is a nationwide network with a nationwide plan,” Lindsay said.
Boost will also continue to offer its other pre-paid plans, including the 10-cents/minute program.
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