Boost Mobile has plans on both the older Sprint and new T-Mobile network with plenty of data available on either. Boost stands out with its international add-ons that can enable calling or even roaming in Mexico. A Shrink-It plan is available to reduce your cost with consecutive payments.
Straight Talk is a more traditional MVNO with fewer plans but the ability to use any of the Big Four's networks, making bringing your phone a breeze. Plans start at 5GB with unlimited talk and text. You can get one of two unlimited plans or a 25GB plan with multi-month subscription options.
If you're just looking to get a data connection on your phone, Straight Talk is going to be one of your quickest and simplest options thanks to its wide range of networks. Boost Mobile is also a great choice with a wide range of plans available on its expanded T-Mobile network. Boost Mobile also gives you plenty of ways to save with multi-line packages including the new Shrink-it plans. Keep in mind that Boost Mobile requires that you use the T-Mobile network for this loyalty discount.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: How many lines do you need?
Boost Mobile has multi-line discounts up to five lines on all of its major plans and multiple promotions for four lines. If you want to get your whole family connected, Boost Mobile will more than likely work out to be the best value for you. The main way to save with Straight Talk is to sign up for multiple lines upfront. The 25GB plan has extra savings when you sign up for up to a full year.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Boost Mobile||Straight Talk|
|International calling||Add-on available||Unlimited International plan|
|Smallest data plan||1GB||5GB|
|Unlimited plan caps||35GB throttle||60GB account review|
|Unlimited plan hotspot||12GB or 30GB||10GB or 20GB|
Until early 2020, Boost Mobile was owned and operated by Sprint and still supports its older Sprint services. Boost Mobile's new owner Dish has a long-term plan to bring the entire carrier to a digital 5G platform, but for now, it offers plans on the older Sprint network with its newer plans using the new T-Mobile network. The new T-Mobile network is referred to as the Expanded Network by Boost Mobile.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: Pick your Boost Mobile network
Boost Mobile used to use Sprint's network exclusively but it now focuses on the new Expanded Network. This network is based on T-Mobile and has denser coverage than the older Sprint network, especially in rural and suburban areas. That's not to say it will be an improvement for everyone but the majority of people should see some benefit. It's also worth noting that the Expanded Network will continue to improve with better 5G while the Sprint-based network won't see much if any significant expansion.
For now, Boost Mobile customers can choose between the two networks. You'll most likely find better coverage with the new network but you should still take a look at the Expanded Network coverage map and the Nationwide coverage map to make sure they work for you. The Expanded network also has 5G access if you have coverage.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: What to know about Straight Talk's networks
With Straight Talk, you'll be able to use either AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, depending on which network your phone is compatible with and which one has coverage for you. You can check this coverage map by entering your zip code and selecting which network your phone came from. Keep in mind that if you want to use hotspot data, you need to select something other than AT&T.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: What are Boost Mobile's plans?
There are two different sets of plans depending on which network you want to use. The Sprint Nationwide Network has three different options. Starting at $35 per month, you can get 3GB of data. For the same cost, you can get 6GB if you sign up at Walmart. The other two plans come with 35GB of LTE data with unlimited 2GB data. The difference between the two plans comes down to how much mobile hotspot data you need.
|Header Cell - Column 0||3GB (6GB at Walmart)||35GB||35GB|
|Talk and Text||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Tidal service||6 months||6 months||6 months|
|Price 1 Line||$35||$50||$60|
|Lines 2-5||$60, $90, $120, $150||$80, $110, $140, $170||$100, $140, $180, $220|
If you want to go with the Expanded Network, there are quite a few plans to choose from. Starting at just $10 per month, you can get 1GB of data if you are a new customer and bring your own device. $5 more per month takes the data up to 2GB and $25 per month comes with 5GB of data. For any customer, there is a 10GB $35 per month plan.
The most interesting Boost Mobile plan is the Shrink-It plan with 15GB of data starting at $45 per month. With this plan, if you make six on-time payments in a row, your price comes down to $35 per month.
The two 35GB plans mirror the plans on the Nationwide Network with 12GB and 30GB of mobile hotspot data available. The larger plan here also comes with HD video streaming.
Additional features such as international calling and more hotspot data can be added by signing into your account.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: What are Straight Talk's plans?
Straight Talk's plans start with a 5GB data plan with unlimited talk and text at $35 per month. Moving up, there's a 25GB plan for $45 per month. The 25GB plan can be bought for extended periods of three, six, or twelve months for $130, $255, and $495 respectively.
If you're looking for unlimited, you have two options starting with a basic unlimited talk, text, and data with 10GB of hotspot data for $55 per month. Hotspot data isn't available on the AT&T network. You can get two lines with this plan for $90 per month but you don't get the hotspot data. For $65 per month, you can upgrade to 20GB of hotspot data.
Finally, there's the Unlimited International plan that comes with 25GB of data and unlimited talk and text. You also get unlimited calls to mobile phones in Mexico, China, Canada, and India. If you need more high-speed data, it can be added at $5 per 1GB.
Finally, there's a basic unlimited calling and texting plan with 100MB of data if you only need the basics on your phone.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: What phones are compatible with Boost Mobile and Straight Talk?
The easiest way to see if your phone will work with Boost Mobile is to enter the IMEI on Boost's website. Most unlocked phones will work on either of Boost Mobile's networks excluding phones purchased from Sprint. Boost sells phones as well including a decent range of Androids and iPhones. You will still need to pay for the phones outright but some of the lower-end models are very affordable.
Pretty much any unlocked phone can be activated on Straight Talk thanks to its available networks. You can also check on Straight Talk's BYOD page if you want to be sure. If you're ready for a new phone, you can buy one from Straight Talk. You can choose from high-end Samsungs and iPhones down to cheap Androids. You can even sign up for a payment plan on some models.
Long story short, most of the best Android phones should work on either carrier.
Boost Mobile vs. Straight Talk: Which should you subscribe to?
In some scenarios, Straight Talk is a great option and its international plan can be a great value for someone that needs it. It also excels at compatibility thanks to its support for all major networks. Still, for most people, Boost Mobile's Expanded Network will provide plenty of coverage and compatibility. Boost's plans also have more opportunities to save with multiple lines or simply paying your bill on time.
An expanded network and loyalty discounts
Boost Mobile is making the most of its new coverage with a wide range of data plans that should work well for just about anyone.
Choose your plan and network
Straight Talk keeps it simple with great network coverage and plenty of data. Phone compatibility doesn't get any better.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.