After being unceremoniously booted from its MVNO operator contract with Optus last year, Boost Mobile was left without a network to call home. Telstra stepped into the breach and picked up the pieces so that it could have a foot in the door with the youth. Boost Mobile officially relaunched today with -- you guessed it -- unlimited pre-paid offers. So how does it compare to the others we have seen in recent days and weeks?
What Is It?
Boost Mobile is a low-cost pre-paid carrier that used to run on the Optus network. After Optus booted Boost last year, Telstra came in to help out and the service now runs on Telstra's Next G network, rather than the Wholesale off-shoot being offered by Kogan and Aldi.
There are three pricing tiers on Boost Mobile, with each offering unlimited usage. The only real difference is the recharge price and expiry time. Sadly from the looks of the plan names, Boost isn't offering spelling lessons to customers.
All of these services are subject to Boost's Fair Go Policy.
The $10 tier is the cheapest you can get away with recharging on Boost. It gets you unlimited talk (to standard national numbers, MessageBank and 13/1300/1800 numbers) and unlimited text and MMS to national numbers. As far as data is concerned, the $10 tier offers you 500MB to use.
The expiry times is where Boost differs from most other carriers. $10 doesn't last as long as it probably should: you get five days to use it. That's right. Five.
$20 also gets you access to the unlimited offerings -- unlimited talk (to standard national numbers, MessageBank and 13/1300/1800 numbers) and unlimited text and MMS to national numbers -- along with 1GB worth of data.
The expiry time here is still a little severe at 15 days.
The $40 is probably the best value on the Boost network. You get your unlimited talk, text and MMS inclusions as the lower tiers, but you have 3GB of data and 30 days to use it before it expires.
The Jump Start is Boost's no-name Android phone designed to get you going on the network as quickly as possible. It's $69, and for that you don't get a whole lot.
It's a 3.5-inch Android smartphone running 2.3 Gingerbread, complete with a two-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and 1000mAh battery. Not exactly value, but for $69 it isn't bad.
It comes in both black and pink.
Unlike other MVNOs, Boost Mobile is one of the only pre-paid carriers to actually get full access to Telstra's NextG network rather than just get access to a throttled wholesale offering.
That means Boost customers can expect data speeds of up to 7.2Mbps on the network and coverage of up to 99.7 per cent of Australia's population.
Bottom line? It's faster than both Kogan Mobile and AldiMobile.
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Is It Worth It?
When Boost Mobile first aired its revamped pre-paid unlimited offerings in January, they looked reasonably attractive. Unlimited anything is always good, but Boost is too harsh on the expiry times, and that means you'll likely lose the credit you bought before you can use it, or worse, you'll just recharge more to keep using it and compound hundreds of dollars of credit you'll just end up wasting.
Spending $15 on AldiMobile, for example, gets you credit you can use over a whole year rather than credit you'll lose in 15 days. The benefit here is for data folk who want faster speeds at cheaper prices. It's no 4G network, but it's better than your average Telstra Wholesale MVNO.
Lifehacker has more plan comparisons in its Boost Mobile/Kogan Mobile/AldiMobile comparisons. Check those out.