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Rumor: Prepaid carrier Boost Mobile to sell iPhone in September

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
On the heels of the news that Cricket Wireless will become the first prepaid carrier in the U.S. to offer Apple's iPhone later this month, an unverified report claims Sprint subsidiary Boost Mobile will also begin offering the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S this September.

A "trusted source" has indicated to TechnoBuffalo that the prepaid carrier plans to initiate sales of Apple's handset in early September, but the tipster was unable to determine whether Boost Mobile would offer its $50 Monthly Unlimited Plan with Shrinkage for the device.

When contacted by AppleInsider, a Boost Mobile spokesperson declined to comment, citing company policy not to discuss rumors on products or services.

The arrival of the iPhone on prepaid carriers in the U.S. will likely challenge existing Android offerings, which have seen ready adoption by the prepaid market. With the exception of one BlackBerry Curve handset, all of the smartphones sold by Boost Mobile on its website appear to be Android models.

Boost Mobile


Earlier on Thursday, Cricket Wireless revealed that it will sell the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S starting on June 22. One analyst speculated that parent company Leap is paying a subsidy of $150 in order to sell Apple's smartphone for $500 without a contract.

Prepaid carriers could also attract more budget-conscious customers into the Apple ecosystem. Though prepaid plans will require customers to pay more for their phones up front, ISI Group's Brian Marshall calculated that lower monthly rates could help prepaid subscribers break even within six months of service on Cricket Wireless, as compared to AT&T or Verizon.

iPhone 4S


Boost Mobile's parent company, Sprint, only began offering the iPhone last fall with the release of the iPhone 4S. The nation's third-largest wireless operator revealed in April that it had sold 1.5 million iPhones in the first quarter of calendar 2012. Sprint said last month that it is "very happy" with its deal with Apple, despite the fact that it doesn't expect to profit from the iPhone until 2015.
post #2 of 18

I personally find it difficult to believe that Boost would carry the iPhone. Similar to Virgin Mobile, the network is pure Sprint with no roaming. The coverage for most of the country is extremely spotty, unless you are in a larger city or along a major highway. Even then - having been with VM, I have had nothing but terrible coverage in one of the larger cities of PA at the crossroads of a couple major interstates.

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though prepaid plans will require customers to pay more for their phones up front, ISI Group's Brian Marshall calculated that lower monthly rates could help prepaid subscribers break even within six months of service on Cricket Wireless, as compared to AT&T or Verizon.

Duh, just do the math for unlimited talk, unlimited text and 2-3GB of cellular data.

 

Straight Talk: $649 factory unlocked retail handset, $15 SIM (one-time charge), $45/month for six months. Total cost of ownership over six months: $934 (no contract, no early termination fee)

Cricket Wireless: $500 partially subsidized handset, $55/month for six months. Total cost of ownership over six months: $830 (no contract, no early termination fee)

AT&T/Verizon: $199 subsidized handset, $36 activation fee, $120/month for six months. Total cost of ownership over six months: $955 (two year contract; $325 early termination fee, less $10 per month of service; if you quit AT&T after six months, you'd shell out at least $265 extra in fees). 

 

The break-even point for Cricket is month 4 versus AT&T/Verizon, but that assumes that one will continue with either plan until the Early Termination Fee of $325 (at AT&T and Verizon) is no longer applicable.

 

The break-even point for Straight Talk is month 6 versus AT&T/Verizon. The longer you keep your Straight Talk account, the cheaper it ends up being.

 

If you calculate total cost of ownership over a 20-month or 24-month period, Straight Talk ends up being way cheaper than AT&T, and a bit cheaper than Cricket. One big advantage of Straight Talk is that you (the iPhone user) are accessing the same cellular towers as AT&T subscribers. If you are in an HSPA+ market, you will be getting the faster network speeds, something Cricket can't match since their network is based on CDMA/EV-DO.

 

At $50 per month, the Boost Mobile offering would put it squarely between Straight Talk ($45/mo.) and Cricket ($55/mo.). The biggest unknown would be the price of the handset (subsidy?).

 

 

Monthly cost of ownership (over 24 months):
Straight Talk: $72.67 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data, no international calling on this plan rate)
Cricket: $75.83 (unlimited talk/text, 2.3GB data)

Verizon: $79.79 (450 min to landline or other carriers, 2GB data, no text plan) (Anytime 6AM to 9PM /no unlimited mobile to mobile except in-network) 
AT&T: $79.79 (450 min. talk to landline or other carriers , 3GB data, no text plan) 
(Anytime 6AM to 9PM/ no unlimited mobile to mobile except in-network) 

H2O Wireless: $77.46 (unlimited talk/text, 500MB of data, some international calling)
H2O Wireless: $87.46 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB of data, speed throttled after first 500MB, some international calling)
Sprint: $89.79 (450 min. talk for landline calls, unlimited text/data) Anytime 7AM to 7PM Unlimited mobile to mobile)

Sprint: $119.79 (unlimited talk/text/data)
Verizon: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
AT&T: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 3GB data)

post #4 of 18

For Boost Mobile to beat Straight Talk and Cricket Wireless for total cost of ownership over 24 months, they would have to price the handset under $544.

post #5 of 18

At this point in time, shouldn't the rumor sites be announcing who WON'T be getting the iPhone?

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #6 of 18

Taxes on phone services run about 30%. While the taxes on the handset should be limited to sales tax. If the cost of the phone could be separated out of the services bill, I'd think the pre-paid costs could be a lot lower then.

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #7 of 18

It's about time.  I think AT&T has made enough and who cares about Sprint.  Verizon is doing just fine.  It time iPhone was sold on pay as you go networks.  Imagine the how many iPhones would get sold then.

An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #8 of 18

I'd love to see the iPhone for Page Plus Cellular. 

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Duh, just do the math for unlimited talk, unlimited text and 2-3GB of cellular data.

Thanks for doing the comparison. I have purchased factory unlocked phones from day 1 (I was in Australia until recently, and they always sold unlocked phones at the Apple Store) and used no contract offerings. I was shocked how often people reacted, claiming that they could never "pay so much" for an iPhone ... when they actually were paying a lot more than me, especially when you throw in that the resale value of a factory unlocked iPhone is considerably better than a locked one.

 

I recently switched to Straight Talk (from AT&T's no contract pre-paid) and the only thing I've given up is Visual Voicemail and International Roaming (which I can just buy a local SIM when I face that situation).

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


Monthly cost of ownership (over 24 months):
Straight Talk: $72.67 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data, no international calling on this plan rate)
Cricket: $75.83 (unlimited talk/text, 2.3GB data)

Verizon: $79.79 (450 min to landline or other carriers, 2GB data, no text plan) (Anytime 6AM to 9PM /no unlimited mobile to mobile except in-network) 
AT&T: $79.79 (450 min. talk to landline or other carriers , 3GB data, no text plan) 
(Anytime 6AM to 9PM/ no unlimited mobile to mobile except in-network) 

H2O Wireless: $77.46 (unlimited talk/text, 500MB of data, some international calling)
H2O Wireless: $87.46 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB of data, speed throttled after first 500MB, some international calling)
Sprint: $89.79 (450 min. talk for landline calls, unlimited text/data) Anytime 7AM to 7PM Unlimited mobile to mobile)

Sprint: $119.79 (unlimited talk/text/data)
Verizon: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
AT&T: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 3GB data)


A lot of people are getting some kind of discount off of those figures from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, or Sprint.  I am and I wouldn't describe it as "trivial", either.  I doubt it changes the overall conclusion but it certainly would significantly change the payback period for pre-paid service.

post #11 of 18

Yeah, but even if you knock off 10-25% off the $129.79 that Verizon/AT&T charges, you're still nowhere near that $72.67 of Straight Talk.

 

Broken record: people need to do their own analyses for their household's cellular usage needs and patterns. There is definitely no one-size-fits-all solution. In some cases, a shared family plan with minimal voice minutes (shared), no texting, and modest cellular data works fine.

 

I did the math myself before I bought my iPhone 4S. At the time, the cheapest solution was to use an AT&T GoPhone SIM with $0.10/minute Pay As You Go service and purchase data packages. So for the first six months or so, I was averaging $13 per month in cellular expenses. It was great. All the taxes and access fees are built into the rates, nothing additional tacked on. Plus you could get discount refill cards from online vendors. I was getting $50 of GoPhone credit for $45 online.

 

Then AT&T changed their GoPhone offerings and it was no longer a viable solution. That's when I switched to Straight Talk. Assuming that I keep my iPhone for two years and Straight Talk doesn't increase rates, my monthly cost of ownership should be about $65 per month.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Taxes on phone services run about 30%. While the taxes on the handset should be limited to sales tax. If the cost of the phone could be separated out of the services bill, I'd think the pre-paid costs could be a lot lower then.

Taxes on phone services vary based on location since some of it may include local sales tax. At least here in California, customers are assessed the sales tax based on the full retail price of the handset, so it doesn't matter if you buy it subsidized or at full retail, the state will get its money.

 

Oddly, GoPhone incurred zero additional taxes. Straight Talk has a minor charge (approximately 2%, less than a dollar), so it's definitely not a sales tax. Probably some silly transaction or "convenience" charge. Unsurprisingly, the confirmation e-mail from Straight Talk doesn't explain it.

post #12 of 18
Give YouMail app (free) a try to get visual voicemail when using Straight Talk.
post #13 of 18

Straight Talk gets even cheaper when you buy your service in 6 month blocks from walmart.com ($249.99). You also avoid the various little Federal fees as well (I live in Oregon, so there isn't any sales tax). Works out to $41.67 a month, or $500 a year. If you're diligent, you can find a used iPhone 4 (as I did) for around $200. I've seen the 4S for as little as $350 used.

 

I've jumped around most of the pre-paid carriers in the last few years (Cricket, Boost, Virgin) trying to find one that works best in and out of town and with decent data speeds. Straight Talk has by far been the best (though their customer service is pretty bad). It's also going to be the only pre-paid that will let you talk and use data at the same time as it's an MVNO working on AT&T's network (GSM).

post #14 of 18

Still too expensive.. Just buy a used iPhone and unlock it, then use pay-as-you-go card and rely on wireless hubs if you really need internet. That other BS like siri or visual voicemail is not necessary. I can live on that for about $100 every 6 months. Considerably cheaper huh.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleempl View Post
Still too expensive.. Just buy a used iPhone and unlock it, then use pay-as-you-go card and rely on wireless hubs if you really need internet. That other BS like siri or visual voicemail is not necessary. I can live on that for about $100 every 6 months. Considerably cheaper huh.

 

Siri isn't "BS", and it also happens to work on Wi-Fi.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #16 of 18

What is the situation in the US with what we in Europe call 'pay as you go' - i.e. you buy the phone outright, then you 'top up' your account with as much or as little credit as you please? Can you even get that at all? Or only with basic phones? Or just not with iPhones?

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post
What is the situation in the US with what we in Europe call 'pay as you go' - i.e. you buy the phone outright, then you 'top up' your account with as much or as little credit as you please? Can you even get that at all? Or only with basic phones? Or just not with iPhones?

 

In general, not with any smartphone. You're forced to have data, voice, and occasionally texting. You're also forced to have a two year contract, even if you buy the phone unlocked and at full price.

 

You also can't really choose which plan you want; you're given five plans for your model and you're forced to pick one.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #18 of 18

page plus cellular is great reseller of verizon but the phone options are limited.

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