Back in December, Dish Network introduced a limited beta version of its Boost Infinite service. This is a postpaid plan that charges an “exclusive Early Access” price of $25 per line per month for lifetime unlimited calls, texts and data. During a billing cycle, subscribers using more than 30GB of data may experience a reduction in data speed, and there are no perks or additional services that come as part of this plan. After some delays, Dish has announced that Boost Infinite will be live later this year.
Dish wants its Boost Infinite service to work with the Apple iPhone
Dish chairman Charles Ergen said that the iPhone has a huge market share in the US and that it is difficult to run a profitable postpaid business in the US without offering the iPhone. Ergen, chairman of Dish Network, has admitted that Dish hasn’t been as aggressive in marketing Boost, knowing the company’s economics will improve by offering Boost customers its own 5G network and postpaid plans can offer.
This is the difference between the two Boost brands. Boost Mobile is a prepaid provider where subscribers pay for the service in advance. Typically there is no contract and prepaid subscribers can come and go, explaining the industry’s high churn rate. Postpaid, which Boost Infinite will offer, locks consumers into a contract that is often tied to financing a new phone. Postpaid subscribers use cellular service first and pay later.
Boost Mobile in Aurora, Colorado is promoting Boost Infinite. Photo credit Wave7 Research
According to Fierce Wireless, analysts from Wave7 Research recently spotted a Boost Infinite display at a Boost Mobile store in Aurora, Colorado. The service is being trialled there and a Dish spokesman said: “We are currently selling Boost Infinite in a Boost Mobile store as a store-in-store concept.” Jeff Moore, head of Wave7, says sources have told him that a more comprehensive rollout would take place in the coming months.
Moore also pointed out that prepaid and postpaid cellular services are thriving in different neighborhoods. Prepaid plans perform well in working-class regions, while postpaid plans are more in demand in higher-income regions. Moore believes that the Boost name, which has been synonymous with prepaid services for years, shouldn’t be used for a postpaid service like Boost Infinite. “In my opinion,” he explained, “Boost Infinite needs a presence in upscale neighborhoods with a totally distinct brand and I would skip Boost, but that’s not my decision.”
Moore added that for branding, “you really have to separate the postpaid brand from the prepaid brand.” He pointed out that AT&T has Cricket for prepaid customers, T-Mobile has Metro by T-Mobile for prepaid customers, and Verizon has multiple brands thanks to its acquisition of TracFone. Sprint had kept its prepaid Boost Mobile service separate from its Sprint postpaid offerings. “I think some level of separation is important,” Moore said.
Dish adds two more retail partners for Boost Mobile
Comparing Dish Network’s naming plan to retail stores, Moore said that if Kmart wanted to take on high-end retailer Nordstrom, “you could call it Kmart Elite and try to compete with Nordstrom, but that would be a terrible idea.” If it were me, I would choose Dish Wireless as my postpaid brand and not Boost Infinite, but [they] didn’t ask me.
Earlier this week, Dish added two new retail partners for Boost Mobile: Dollar General and Kroger, adding 20,000 new doors for Boost. The brand has 4,500 retail locations and is already sold through Walmart, Target and Best Buy. The Wall Street Journal also reported yesterday that Dish is in talks with Amazon about selling wireless plans through the online retailer. Still, a Dish spokesperson told the Journal that it “has no distribution plan or partnership whatsoever with Amazon at this time.” Dish currently has approximately 8 million mobile customers, mostly prepaid customers who are Boost Mobile customers. That’s down 7% from the 8.6 million subscribers Dish had a year earlier. These subscribers use the AT&T and T-Mobile cellular networks under the Boost Mobile name. For Boost Infinite, Dish is building a self-contained (SA) 5G network utilizing a 5G core. In comparison, other 5G networks are based on a 4G LTE core, as 5G technology was built on top of an existing LTE network.
In the US, only T-Mobile is currently using a completed standalone 5G network. Such networks are cheaper for carriers to operate, but most importantly, they offer consumers better experiences and faster data speeds.