Boost Mobile Review

Dave Schafer
Oct 16, 2023
Icon Time To Read6 min read

Boost Mobile has made waves with its budget-friendly unlimited plan, which is a breath of fresh air at a time when phone bills can easily reach a couple hundred bucks a month. Boost Mobile won’t get you the same perks that major providers like Verizon and T-Mobile do, but it has some of the cheapest cellular prices we’ve ever seen.

Does Boost Mobile live up to the hype? How does it compare to the competition? Let’s find out.

What is Boost Mobile?

Boost Mobile is what’s known as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). MVNOs are cell service providers that offer service by renting bandwidth from another provider. By piggybacking on another provider’s infrastructure, Boost Mobile is able to offer competitive service at an extremely affordable price, with relatively few downsides.

Unlike some cell providers, like T-Mobile and Verizon, Boost Mobile doesn’t offer home internet service. However, you can use your phone as a hotspot, which makes it a decent substitute in a pinch. That ability also makes Boost a good option for getting reliable internet on the road.

If you’re considering Boost Mobile because you need reliable home internet in a rural area, we recommend checking out a satellite provider like Hughesnet or Viasat. They offer essentially nationwide coverage, so you don’t need to worry about infrastructure in your area. Just align your dish and you’re good to go!

Boost Mobile plans and pricing

Data and speed
5GB/mo.$15.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: 5GB per month
Unlimited$25.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: Unlimited (slower speeds after 30GB)
Unlimited (with hotspot)$40.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: Unlimited (slower speeds after 30GB)
Unlimited Plus$60.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: Unlimited (slower speeds after 30GB)

Boost offers an affordable 5GB plan, along with several unlimited data options. At first glance, it’s hard to spot the difference between these unlimited plans—you have to dig a little deeper into the fine print to find them. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Unlimited: This plan offers unlimited data, with slower speeds after you use 30GB (which resets each month). Any hotspot data you use comes directly out of this 30GB pool. At just $25 per month, this plan is an incredible deal.
  • Unlimited (with hotspot): The primary difference between this plan and the cheaper Unlimited option is the addition of 12GB of dedicated hotspot data. That means your first 12GB of hotspot usage comes from this pool, rather than your regular high-speed data allotment. People who use their hotspots frequently may find the extra data worthwhile.
  • Unlimited Plus: This plan bumps the hotspot allowance up to 30GB, and also adds Boost’s Todo Mexico add-on, which gives unlimited calling and SMS to Mexico and Canada, as well as 1.5GB of additional roaming data in Mexico. This is a $5-per-month value.

Of these three, the $25 Unlimited plan is the best overall value (in our opinion), but if you use your hotspot frequently, it may be worth bumping up to one of the others to avoid eating up your high-speed data allotment.

Boost Mobile speeds

Boost Mobile offers 4G LTE and 5G speeds. LTE can reach up to 100Mbps, while 5G can hit up to 1,000Mbps (at least in theory). The exact speeds you’ll get depend on your location and how mature the network is there. Speeds should generally be quite fast, though.

That said, there are a couple of caveats with Boost. First, since it’s an MVNO, it only rents its network—from T-Mobile and AT&T, in this case. During heavy network congestion, those providers may throttle Boost’s portion of the bandwidth to ensure their customers get the best experience. This doesn’t always happen, but it is a possibility.

T-Mobile’s network is generally fast and robust, with tons of 5G coverage. AT&T’s 5G network is smaller and slower overall, which may impact performance slightly in some cases. Boost uses both and assigns each line to one or the other when you sign up for service, so it’s kind of a coin toss as to which you get. We wouldn’t worry too much about this, but it’s still worth being aware of.

Boost Mobile network

Boost Mobile uses a mixture of T-Mobile and AT&T networks to provide service. T-Mobile is one of the largest 5G networks in the country and offers excellent speeds across most coverage areas. AT&T is smaller and generally slower, but helps fill in coverage gaps, allowing Boost to cover nearly all of the United States with either 5G or LTE service.

Of course, there may still be times when Boost doesn’t suit your needs, which is why it’s great to have so much competition in this space. For example, you may find that you only get great coverage in your area with Verizon or one of the MVNOs that use its network, like Visible.

Boost Mobile customer service

Boost Mobile offers a number of resources to get you the help you need, when you need it. Your first option is a robust FAQ page with support articles and quick answers to frequent questions. If that doesn’t solve your problem, you can reach out via a live chat or using Boost Mobile’s phone number:

  • Live chat is accessed via the floating button in the bottom right corner of Boost’s support page (or any page of Boost’s website).
  • Phone support can be reached at +1-833-50-BOOST (+1-833-502-6678).

Unfortunately, these aren’t available 24/7. The hours are as follows:

  • Mon–Fri: 7 a.m.–11 p.m. ET
  • Sat–Sun: 7 a.m.–10 p.m. ET

Finally, Boost has several social channels where you can connect and potentially get support:

Can Boost Mobile replace your home or RV internet?

The short answer is no, Boost Mobile probably isn’t suitable as a primary home internet service, despite the hotspot feature. It just doesn’t offer enough high-speed data, and using your phone as a hotspot constantly is a little inconvenient. If home internet is what you need, you might want to look into 5G home internet from T-Mobile or Verizon, both of which offer unlimited 5G internet for a similar price to Boost Mobile.

However, Boost Mobile could serve as a backup option if you’re in an area with unreliable internet. The Ultimate Plus plan’s hotspot allowance could also potentially make it a decent option for RV, camping, or other travel purposes. You’ll just want to check the coverage map to make sure there’s service available in the areas you frequently visit.

Boost Mobile vs. the competition

Cell service is a crowded space, and Boost has a ton of competitors. On the one hand, you have the Big Three mobile providers in the states: T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. On the other hand, you have other MVNOs, such as Visible, Mint Mobile, and Twigby, offering similar low-cost alternatives. How does Boost Mobile stack up?

Overall, Boost holds its own. Its $25 unlimited plan is the cheapest we’ve seen—some providers, like Twigby, match the price, but only for limited introductory offers. Mint Mobile’s $30 unlimited option does offer more high-speed data for a slight cost bump. Overall, the choice of MVNO largely comes down to which offers better coverage in your area.

As for the major carriers, none of them can match Boost in terms of price. However, they often have more robust customer support, and you don’t have to worry about your service being deprioritized due to network congestion. In other words, you always get the fastest speeds available. For some customers, this may be worth the increased monthly cost, although we don’t find it to be a major issue.

Who owns Boost Mobile?

Boost has gone through several ownership changes over the years, but it’s currently owned by DISH Network (the satellite provider). Boost was owned by Sprint and then ownership transitioned to T-Mobile when it purchased the former in 2020. During that transition, T-Mobile agreed to sell Boost to DISH.

DISH seems to have plans to build out its own 5G network, and owning Boost Mobile gives it the chance to pull in customers while it builds out infrastructure. Incidentally, DISH is also owned by the same people who own Hughesnet—one of our favorite satellite internet providers.

What are MVNOs?

MVNO stands for mobile virtual network operator. These are wireless providers that pay larger companies, like T-Mobile and Verizon, to use their cell networks, rather than building their own. This is significantly cheaper for the MVNO, and they typically pass these savings on to the customer via lower prices for service.

The downside of this arrangement is that the major carriers that own the networks tend to prioritize their own customers. This means that during times of heavy traffic or congestion, MVNO customers might see slower speeds as the carriers prioritize their own users. This isn’t a constant issue, but it does happen from time to time.

Boost Mobile FAQ

Whose network does Boost Mobile use?

Boost Mobile uses both the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. This enables it to cover a wide area, with either 5G or LTE service available almost everywhere in the U.S.

Why is Boost Mobile so cheap?

Boost Mobile is affordable because it’s an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). This basically means Boost rents bandwidth from another network to provide its service—a much cheaper option than building its own. Carriers allow them to do this because they have extra bandwidth and can make additional money from the rental fees.