Editor's note: Because evaluating wireless coverage requires experience with the network in a wide variety of physical locations, CNET does not rate wireless carriers. We can, however, tell you everything you need to know about the major carriers. We invite your feedback and ratings in our user opinions section--the more input we get from around the U.S., the better our users can evaluate coverage at a national level.
Boost Mobile is an MVNO that is wholly owned by Sprint Nextel. It serves 4 million customers in 49 states. Though originally it marketed its service toward a young, urban audience, Boost is now geared toward all budget-minded consumers and serves as the prepaid resource for Sprint Nextel customers. As such, it does not require contracts or credit checks. The primary monthly plan offers unlimited calling, messaging, and Web browsing, but customers also can pay by the minute or by the day. The carrier offers CDMA and iDEN phones, the latter of which feature push-to-talk services. Originally launched in both New Zealand and Australia in 2001, Boost USA launched in 2003.
Things you should know: