Boost Mobile is a prepaid provider that offers some of the cheapest cell phone plans of any company. Its device selection is limited to last-generation Android and BlackBerry phones, and it doesn't offer payment plans on them, but they're affordable and you can buy used for bigger savings. It might not be able to directly compete with the big cell phone carriers, but Boost offers enough to turn heads.

If your family's on a budget, going with Boost Mobile could save you a lot of money. The company's main plan for smartphones costs $55. For that, you get unlimited talk, text, 411 directory assistance and all the extra features you'd expect from a solid phone, plus 2.5GB of high-speed data. If you go over that 2.5GB limit, you'll still have access to the web; you'll merely be throttled down to 3G speeds.

Boost's big selling point is its shrinking payments feature. For every six months you pay your bills on time, Boost will take $5 off your monthly statement, up to $15 off. This can effectively bring a $55 plan down to just $40 a month – a phenomenal price for the services you receive.

Picking the right cell phone provider isn't just about price, of course, and when compared to the top cell phone companies, Boost's coverage is lacking. Like many other prepaid providers, it operates on the nationwide Sprint network. While it may offer lots of coverage, it's the weakest of the four major carriers' networks. Coverage in major cities around the country can be spotty, prone to low-signal warnings and dropped calls. This might not be a factor in your area, so as with any provider, you'll want to check the specific coverage in your town.

The phones you can buy through Boost are all, unfortunately, last-generation models. While this makes them substantially more affordable – you have to pay the full retail price of the phone up front – it might turn you off if you're a fan of the latest and greatest technology. You can pick from either Android or BlackBerry models, including big brand names like the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Boost Mobile Summary:
6.4/10

Boost Mobile is among the most affordable cell phone providers we've reviewed. Its feature list can go head-to-head with the major carriers, for prices far below the national average. You won't have the same degree of choice as other providers when it comes to picking your phone, and its coverage can be spotty in some areas. However, when it comes to bang for the buck, it's hard to argue with Boost's prices.

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Boost Mobile

Pros
Boost Mobile's rates for unlimited talk, text and data are among the cheapest available. If you consistently pay your bills on time, they can shrink even further.

Cons
The company's aging phone selection can be disappointing to smartphone lovers, while its use of the Sprint network leaves some cities with spotty reception.

The Verdict
: 6.38/10

Boost Mobile is one of the finest prepaid providers we've reviewed. Its prices and features are exceptional. While it may not have the phones or network coverage to contend with big carriers, if you're watching your budget, it's an excellent option.