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September 30, 2021
Dish Network's Boost Mobile MVNO will soon begin selling a mid-range Android phone for $279 under its own Celero5G brand. The operator plans to give some of the first Celero5G customers a free year of unlimited service, worth $600.
"It's a pretty aggressive offer," said Stephen Stokols, head of Boost Mobile. He added that there are no "gimmicks" to the offer; for example, customers are under no obligation to continue using the Boost service after the end of their free year.
Stokols explained that Boost will offer a free year of service to an initial batch of customers who pre-order the device, and later will discontinue that promotion. He did not say how many phones Boost would pair with the free year of service, but said it would be "a lot." After that initial batch of phones are sold, customers who purchase the Celero5G phone will be able to pair it with any of Boost's existing service plans, including its $50 per month unlimited plan that provides 35GB of high-speed data per month.
Figure 1: Dish's new Celero5G Android phone sports a 6.52-inch screen, four cameras, 36 hours of battery life, and 4GB of RAM/64GB ROM memory that's customizable with an SD card up to 2TB.
Boost's new offer stands as a bit of a competitive reaction to T-Mobile's latest prepaid pricing attack. T-Mobile two months ago said it would provide a free 5G phone and unlimited 5G service for around $25 per month, or roughly half the price that Dish's Boost Mobile brand charges. T-Mobile's aggressive offer represents a slap back against Dish, which has been working to generate regulatory opposition to T-Mobile's plan to shutter its 3G CDMA network. Dish argues that an unspecified portion of its Boost Mobile customer base still use that network.
Thus, Boost's new Celero5G phone can be viewed as an attempt by the company to shift more customers onto newer 5G networks. Initial batches of the phone will connect to T-Mobile's network, though Stokols said future versions of the gadget will also be able to connect to AT&T's network. That's important considering Dish inked an MVNO agreement with AT&T during the summer, putting the company into a position to activate MVNO customers on either AT&T or T-Mobile's network, depending on which one is providing better rates.
Notably, Boost's new Celero5G phone will connect to T-Mobile's speedy midband 5G network. Dish officials confirmed the phone supports 5G on band n66 (1700/2100MHz), band n71 (600 MHz), band n25 (1850-1915MHz), and band n41 (2.5GHz). T-Mobile has dubbed its 2.5GHz band as "ultra capacity," and has said it supports speeds around 300 Mbit/s.
Stokols said the brand "Celero" is a derivation of the Latin word for "speed," because the gadget is "optimized for speed."
Stokols also confirmed that the Celero5G phone doesn't support all of the spectrum bands that Dish is using to construct its own 5G network. However, he said future versions of the phone would support additional 5G spectrum bands, including Dish's bands.
"It will evolve over time," Stokols said of the phone. He declined to name the company building the phone but hinted it was a "big name" contract manufacturer that works with other brands. Research firm Strategy Analytics reported that the manufacturer of the phone is Wingtech.
Boost isn't the first company to sell a phone under its own brand. For example, T-Mobile sells phones under its own Revvl brand.
Stokols offered a few updates on Dish's other mobile efforts, including its plans to offer postpaid wireless service plans and its "Project Gene5is" launch plans. Stokols said Dish will offer postpaid wireless services starting next year, and will do so via its new MVNO agreement with AT&T. And he said Dish will eventually sell a version of its Celero5G phone for its "Project Gene5is" service. Dish began accepting signups for its promised 5G network this summer, marketing the offering under the "Project Gene5is" branding.
Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading
Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.
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