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Boost Mobile extends discounted double-data offer

Originally set to end Monday, the promotion from the Sprint prepaid wireless business will now run until early January.

Sprint sees momentum behind its Boost Mobile prepaid wireless service, and is looking to press it further.

Boost Mobile

Boost said on Tuesday that it is extending its discounted double-data promotion, which was supposed to expire Monday, to January 5. The discounts, which were rolled out in September, offer a $5 discount to each of its plans while doubling the data at the same time.

Prepaid has long been an important part of Sprint's business, and is increasingly a critical part of the growth in the overall wireless industry -- particularly as the traditional bread-and-butter business of contract customers loses steam. Sprint has the largest presence in prepaid, between its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile arms, and its Assurance Wireless service for low-income consumers.

Under the program, a customer can sign up for a $35-a-month plan that includes 1 gigabyte of data, a $45 plan for 5GB and $55 plan for 10GB. Because Boost runs on Sprint's network, the data would run on either its 3G or 4G network, depending on coverage.

The promotion comes on the heels of a tough quarter for Sprint, which saw a wider loss and customer growth only as a result of a stronger wholesale business. Sprint shares fell 20 percent to $5.01 in early trading Tuesday.

On the surface, its prepaid business did only moderately well, adding 35,000 net new customers. But that was a result of a loss of Assurance customers, who qualify for the government-subsidized service because of low income.

On a conference call on Monday, Sprint Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer praised Boost's performance, noting that it saw the highest gross additions in four years. CEO Marcelo Claure said September marked a record month for the prepaid business.

Sprint, however, isn't alone in the prepaid space. While the company is saddled with customer losses from the Assurance business, T-Mobile's MetroPCS unit added 411,000 net new prepaid customers in the same period. AT&T has also made a big move in prepaid, but lost 140,000 subscribers in the quarter as it worked through the integration of Cricket customers, which it acquired in March.

Boost's aggressiveness falls in line with Claure's stance on pricing.

"We will be very aggressive in terms of advertising," he said on the call. "We want to make people think of Sprint before they renew with their network provider."

That sentiment appears to apply to its prepaid business as well.