Dish's Boost Mobile isn't 'shrinking it' anymore

Dish Network closed its $1.4 billion purchase of roughly 9 million Boost Mobile-branded prepaid customers from T-Mobile last year. Just days later, it launched a "$hrink-It" customer loyalty program that rewarded long-term customers with discounts.

"The longer you stay, the less you pay," explained Dish's John Swieringa of the program.

But that program is no longer available.

"While we are no longer promoting $hrink It, customers on that plan will stay on it," explained a Dish representative in response to questions from Light Reading. The representative said Boost is currently offering a number of other pricing options, including one for customers who bring their own devices to the operator.

"Our checks indicated that demand for the '$hrink It' plans was low, with customers continuing to mostly demand Boost's unlimited plans," explained analyst Jeffrey Moore of Wave7 Research. Wave7 first reported the disappearance of $hrink It.

The shift by Dish's Boost away from its reward program comes at an important time for the company. Dish's Boost customer base remains on T-Mobile's network as Dish continues to construct its own 5G network. However, T-Mobile has said it plans to shutter its 3G CDMA network by January 1, 2022. That will affect an unspecified portion of Dish's Boost customer base.

As a result, both Boost and T-Mobile are working to swap out customers' older phones with newer ones that can connect to T-Mobile's 4G and 5G networks.

But there are other factors affecting Boost's activities. For example, Dish hired Stephen Stokols, who previously operated the FreedomPop MVNO, late last year as its EVP of Boost Mobile.

During his tenure at Dish, Stokols has been working to position Boost as an innovative provider of services that other wireless companies haven't touched. For example, in recent months Boost has moved to bundle K Health's remote-care service with its flagship unlimited-data plan. The company has also offered privacy products and sports betting options.

Boost's latest effort to stand apart from the pack arrived this week with its announcement that it will sponsor two college basketball stars, twin sisters Hanna and Haley Cavinder. "Boost Mobile is now the first wireless provider to sponsor college athletes directly," the company boasted.

Boost's action comes just hours after NCAA rules went into effect, opening the door for college athletes to sell the rights to their names, images and likenesses for the first time.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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