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Get 5 lines of unlimited high-speed data for $100 per month

That family plan works out to $20 per person, a price that includes mobile hotspot. The question is, can you live with this carrier? Plus: four bonus deals, including two freebies!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
4 min read

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones , gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!


Previously you could get four lines for $100; now you can get five.

Boost Mobile

There's so much happening in the mobile-carrier world these days, it's nearly impossible to keep up.

For example, Cricket just added an extra gigabyte of 4G LTE data to some of its plans -- including the one I use. Red Pocket Mobile recently started offering a 3GB plan for $30 per month, one of the cheapest I've seen. (More on that in a future post.)

And then there's this: For a limited time, Boost Mobile will give you 5 lines of unlimited service for $100 per month. (No taxes or fees on top of that, either.)

That's not "unlimited" meaning you get a few gigs of high-speed data, then it's throttled (like Red Pocket's aforementioned plan), but rather unlimited all the way. (Well, OK, after 23GB, Boost may throttle you.)

What's more, those lines include the mobile hotspot feature, which is surprisingly rare among MVNOs unless you're paying at least $50/month per line.

To put that in some perspective, I pay $100 per month for Cricket and get the same five lines. But high-speed data tops out at 5GB per line (admittedly, it was 4GB just last week), and we don't get mobile hotspot.

Of course, Cricket is a GSM carrier; Boost Mobile relies on Sprint 's CDMA network, meaning you need to own (or purchase) a compatible phone.

It also means you're not going to get the coverage or speed afforded by an AT&T, a T-Mobile, a Verizon or any of their MVNOs. In my neighborhood, Sprint coverage has always been poor; to this day I can barely get a signal inside my house.

Is it likely to be the same for you? Earlier this morning I ran a simple Twitter poll, and not even a third of the voters graded Sprint's coverage as "excellent" or "pretty good." Everyone else classified it "average" or "poor," with the latter getting over 40 percent of the votes. That's pretty telling.

So this is a classic get-what-you-pay-for scenario. If you've got decent Sprint coverage where you live/work or you just don't mind fewer bars, and you're looking to "feed" a family of five (or, like I do, a family of four and a mother-in-law), this is one of the cheapest options out there. But the cost of paying less is lesser service.

Needless to say, if you're already a Boost Mobile (or Sprint, or other Sprint MVNO) customer, hit the comments and let me know how it's working out.


This doorbell is wireless, but requires no batteries! (The receivers do require outlets, though.)


Bonus deal: A couple months back I shared a deal on a surprisingly cool wireless doorbell. Alas, it sold out quickly. The good news: It's back! The bad news: It costs a couple bucks more. (The vendor swears they actually took a loss on that original price.)

Anyway, if you're still interested, Cambond (via Amazon) has this self-powered wireless doorbell for $22.99 (shipped free for Prime subscribers) when you apply promo code JWL9FDZ3 at checkout.

I like virtually everything about this: the waterproof button that requires no batteries, the two included receivers, the light-up LED ring on each of them, the choice of 58 ringtones, etc. Heck, even the user reviews (which average out to 4.6 stars) are reliable, according to both Fakespot and ReviewMeta.

I don't know if we'll ever see this at $18.99 again, but even at $22.99, it seems like a pretty sweet deal.

Bonus deal No. 2: In recent months I've shared a couple deals on Ecovacs' robot vacuums , and readers seem to really like them. (Who knew there was a viable alternative to Roomba?) If you've been waiting on one that can mop in addition to sweep, look no further than today's Meh deal: the Ecovacs Deebot M81 for $144 (plus $5 for shipping).

This particular model was designed with bare floors and low-pile carpet in mind. The only thing that bugs me about the entire Deebot line, though, is that there's no way to limit cleaning to just a particular room or area. Roombas, at least, offer virtual walls.


"The Dark Crystal" can be watched for free through Microsoft.

The Jim Henson Company

Bonus deal No. 3: Free movie! Can't say I'm a fan, but for a limited time, Microsoft will rent you the Jim Henson classic "The Dark Crystal" for free.

The kids might like it, assuming you can get them to gather around your desktop or laptop to watch it. (Those are your only viewing options, unless you own an Xbox, in which case you can watch on your TV.)

Bonus deal No. 4: Free audiobook! If you like true tales of adventure, look no further than 's="" incredible="" voyage.""="">"Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage." Currently free for Audible (via Amazon), it tells the story of explorer Ernest Shackleton and his ill-fated 1914 voyage to Antarctica.

The book earned an amazing 4.8 stars from over 2,000 listeners. It costs at least $12 elsewhere; $20-22 from most other sources.