As rumored for the last week, Boost Mobile has officially launched a new slate of service plans that moves away from the Shrinkage loyalty program and moves to more conventional prepaid plans. The plans resemble service plans from competitors Aio/New Cricket and MetroPCS without a true unlimited option.
The current Shrinkage-based service plans will remain in place during the new plan introduction period for an unspecified amount of time and Boost has confirmed that availability can change at anytime. In another major change from the previous plan slate, the new service plans will be universal across devices whether they be smartphone or feature phone without the previous tiering for device type, including the BlackBerry, except for the 8330 according to the FAQ for the changes.
As expected, BlackBerries are still officially supported with the new service plans despite the long-term availability of the older Shrinkage plans now in question, especially as BlackBerry devices have been de-emphasized in the Boost Mobile lineup in favor of Android smartphones and the iPhone. This means that at any point, Boost can discontinue the BlackBerry Shrinkage plans along with the remaining BlackBerry device in the 9310 while any remaining retail inventory of older models can still be activated on the new plans as they still include BIS support.
The changes also mean that for all intents and purposes, Boost Mobile is falling inline with the rest of the prepaid sector instead of keeping its trump card as competition continues to increase. However, compared to parent Sprint’s Framily plan, the new plans are also being perceived as a way to push people from prepaid, especially with Sprint’s upcoming changes that are designed to drive as many customers as possible to postpaid, regardless of creditworthiness. It remains to be seen how the changes will affect Sprint’s Prepaid Group, but the immediate changes make something clear: Sprint’s new focus on Framily will be at the expense of prepaid, whether the changes make sense or not.