Boost Mobile was founded in Australia and New Zealand in 2000 by Peter Adderton. Adderton and Craig Cooper brought it to the United States in 2001 as an action sports-based lifestyle brand, and entered into a joint venture with Nextel Communications to launch and market the brand - primarily to be marketed to the teen and young-adult demographic groups. A strong lure of Boost Mobile with the teen and young adult customer groups was that Boost's Walkie Talkie (Nextel's Direct Connect), for $1 a day ($30 per month), was the only way in the early 2000s to have something similar to unlimited voice minutes. Boost Walkie Talkie naturally only reached other Nextel/Boost IDEN subscribers, and as a form of PTT, was half duplex. Teenagers and young adults are notorious for being early adopters of technology and are stereotyped as heavily using mobile devices and telecommunications. Unlimited voice plans on national carriers didn't come into the United States market until 2008. In 2003, Nextel purchased the American division of Boost Mobile. Until late 2004, Boost Mobile was only available in selected markets, primarily in California and Nevada. Prior to their purchase of Boost Mobile, Nextel primarily focused on the business market.
With Sprint Corporation's purchase of Nextel in 2006, Boost Mobile remained as a wholly owned subsidiary of newly formed Sprint Nextel Corporation. At the end of 2006, Boost launched its Unlimited by Boost Mobile Service on the CDMA network. The service offered unlimited talk, text, and wireless web - but was only offered in a select amount of states/markets. The result was tremendous growth...but parent Sprint Nextel made the decision to pull back on the CDMA plans for unknown reasons - instead, focusing on the iDEN push-to-talk network for the time being.
To compete with unlimited offerings from competitors in the wireless industry, Boost Mobile announced on January 15, 2009 that it would launch its Monthly Unlimited Plan at $50, inclusive of talk, text, Internet, walkie-talkie, taxes and fees. The plan was accompanied by re-focusing the brand towards a broader demographic than before. The new unlimited plan resulted in a net gain of more than 674,000 customers in less than three months. Despite this lift, Nextel overall suffered a gross subscriber loss of 1.25 million contract subscriptions.
The quick spike caused by the unlimited service resulted in delays of up to several days for the text messages of many customers in April. The new service runs on the Sprint Nextel iDEN network, which previously was best known for its walkie-talkie feature. A Boost Mobile spokesman said that they did not anticipate the level of popularity for the new service, and that efforts to improve the network have been implemented to help mitigate the problem. On May 4, 2009, during the Sprint Nextel Corporation Earnings Conference Call for the first quarter of 2009, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that "as of today, the messaging network on the iDEN network and for our Boost customers is back to normal."
Boost Mobile had four million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2009 - and more than 5.1 million customers by the end of 2009.
In 2010, Boost stepped up once again as it began launching new handsets on its CDMA Network (Sprint 3G Nationwide Network) - effectively extending the $50 Monthly Unlimited offer to more feature-rich and advanced handsets, including the Blackberry Curve 8330 ($60 per month - which includes Blackberry-specific data features) and the stylish Sanyo Incognito.
Sprint Nextel's purchase of Virgin Mobile USA in early 2010, the Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile organizations were merged and integrated to form the Sprint Prepaid Group - which now includes several additional no-conract brands within the Sprint family.