Home / Mobile / MetroPCS vs. Boost Mobile: Which Is Right for You? – Tom's Guide

MetroPCS vs. Boost Mobile: Which Is Right for You? – Tom's Guide

Smartphone users are looking for ways to shave money off their monthly bills, and prepaid carriers — who offer lower-priced plans without many service bells and whistles — are one of the obvious ways to cut your costs. MetroPCS and Boost Mobile seem to sense that, as the two prepaid carriers have been rolling out deals all summer to attract new customers.

But which carrier is the better choice? The decision comes down to network performance and data-plan options. Here’s how MetroPCS and Boost stack up.


MetroPCS Key Strengths

  • Uses T-Mobile’s superior network
  • Unlimited data plan is more attractive
  • Choice of tiered data plans
  • Good discounts on multiple lines

Boost Mobile Key Strengths

  • Family of four can save big bucks under a current promotion
  • Better customer service
  • Tie-in with Tidal streaming music service


A comparison between MetroPCS and Boost Mobile on network coverage is really a comparison between their parent companies. MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile, while Boost is a Sprint subsidiary.

That would seem to tilt things in MetroPCS’s favor, as T-Mobile has one of the better-rated networks, according to assorted testing firms. OpenSignal’s latest report says that T-Mobile has the fastest network speed and greatest 4G availability of the four major carriers. T-Mobile also points to crowdsourced data from Ookla showing it with the fastest network speeds. A dissenting voice comes from RootMetrics, which actually puts Sprint ahead of T-Mobile in its RootScore ranking system.

MORE: The Fastest (and Slowest) Wireless Networks

Sprint can point to several areas where its network is improving. That OpenSignal report noted that Sprint’s network speeds were getting faster and its 4G availability was on the rise, too. In RootMetrics’ testing, Sprint actually tied with AT&T and Verizon for the best texting performance. Sprint points to results from Ookla that show its LTE Plus speeds up 28 percent over the last seven months.

Still in our 4G testing, MetroPCS was noticeably faster and more consistent than Boost. MetroPCS had an average download speed of 22.1 Mbps in the six cities where we tested, compared with 16.8 Mbps for Boost. MetroPCS also averaged 1 minute and 41 seconds on our app download test; it took Boost 36 seconds longer to download that same app in our test. Both MetroPCS and Boost matched the performance of their parent carriers, which helped give MetroPCS the edge here.


MetroPCS has been tinkering with its data allotments and discounts on multiple lines, which give it a leg up on Boost. If you need wireless service for a family of four, though, a special offer from Boost can save you big bucks if you act quickly.

For Individuals
Individuals have four plans to pick from at MetroPCS — two with data limits and two offering unlimited data.

MetroPCS offers the best prepaid plan for individuals who don’t need a lot of data. For $40 a month, you can get 6GB of LTE data. (Normally, that’s 3GB, but MetroPCS raised it as part of an ongoing promotion.) If your data needs are minimal, you can opt for MetroPCS’s 2GB plan.

MetroPCS’s unlimited plan starts at $50 a month, though you’re restricted to 480p resolution on video streaming — that’s about DVD quality — and you can’t tether. Pay  MetroPCS’s $60 unlimited plan, and you can stream HD videos while also adding 8GB of 4G hotspot data.


Data Allotment

Monthly Cost


MetroPCS Tiered Data



Data tiers have been raised from 1GB/3GB as part of a promotion

Boost Mobile Tiered Data



Enrolling in autopay reduces monthly rate to $30

MetroPCS Unlimited Data



$60 plan lets you stream HD video and adds 8GB of hotspot data

Boost Mobile Unlimited Data



Includes limits on video, music and game streaming

Boost has just two options. A $35 plan offers 3GB of LTE data, and you can take $5 off your monthly bill by enrolling in autopay. That means you’re getting an extra gigabyte of data for the same amount you’d pay for MetroPCS’s lowest-price.

Or, if you want to look at things from a different angle, you can double your data by paying just $10 more per month at MetroPCS. As with MetroPCS, if you go over your data allotment at Boost, your speeds slow until the end of the billing cycle.

MORE: A Guide to No Contract and Prepaid Phone Plans

Boost’s unlimited plan costs $50, the same monthly rate MetroPCS charges. Like MetroPCS, you’re restricted to 480p streaming on video. But Boost also limits music streaming to 500 Kbps and streaming games to 2 Mbps; those limitations don’t exist at MetroPCS. To remove Boost’s streaming limits, you can pay an extra $20 a month, but that makes Boost’s plan more expensive than even the $60-a-month unlimited plan at MetroPCS, which also allows HD video streaming.

For Families
Both Boost and MetroPCS offer discounts when you add multiple lines. The savings are even greater at both carriers right now, thanks to a pair of dueling promotions launched over the summer.

In the past, MetroPCS has knocked off $5 for additional lines of tiered data and $10 off extra unlimited data lines. That’s all out the window at present, where you can add extra lines to the 6GB and unlimited plans for $25 per line per month, up to four lines. The 2GB plan has a $5 discount on each additional line.

At Boost, you can add an extra line for $30 per line no matter which plan you have. On the $35 3GB plan, that’s not that much of a savings. However, it’s a $15 discount on each line of unlimited data you add after that first $50-a-month line.

One line of unlimited data

Two lines of unlimited data

Three lines of unlimited data

Four lines of unlimited data











Boost offers even bigger savings with a special summer promotion. Switch over to Boost from MetroPCS or Cricket, and you can get four lines of unlimited data for $25 per line. In other words, a family of four pays $100 a month. That’s $25 less than what the same family of four pays at MetroPCS under the current promotional rates. Boost’s switching offer expires  Sept. 7.

Customer Service

When we tested the customer support offered by nine wireless carriers earlier this year, Boost finished in the middle of the pack, tied with its parent company Sprint. That still placed Boost ahead of MetroPCS, which — despite some improvements to its customer service — still finished in seventh place.

Boost’s customer support is both speedy and friendly, and you can get a lot of help just by searching the company’s surprisingly robust website. When we posted questions to Boost’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, we received prompt responses, even if they weren’t always completely helpful ones. Boost tries to use automated menus to solve your problems when you call its customer-support line, but subscribers who want to get help from a real live human might find that approach frustrating.

MetroPCS used to bring up the rear in our customer service rankings, so its seventh-place finish (out of nine) this time shows some improvement. The MetroPCS website lists more information than it used to, but phone support remains hit-or-miss. (It is available 24 hours a day, though.) We got slow responses to tech-support questions posted to social media.

Phone Selection

MetroPCS and Boost are fairly similar when it comes to phone selection, with both carriers putting an emphasis on low-cost models.

Boost offers 28 phones as of this writing, with three-quarters of those devices costing $200 or less. (It’s worth noting that four of those budget phones are  listed as out-of-stock, limiting your selection.) Refurbished phones mean you can save a bundle on aging models, like a 16GB iPhone 6 available for $150. Among newer models, Boost sells the Galaxy S8 for $650, $80 less than what you’ll pay at MetroPCS. You’ll also find nice exclusives like the attractively priced ZTE Max XL.

The ZTE Zmax Pro is a MetroPCS exclusive.The ZTE Zmax Pro is a MetroPCS exclusive.MetroPCS can point to some good exclusives of its own, like the ZTE Zmax Pro. It offers a slightly larger selection than Boost with 32 models as of this writing; 23 of those cost less than $200, though that includes two flip phones.

Both carriers let you bring your own phone; though on Boost, your device will need to work with a CDMA-based network.

MORE: Best Cheap Unlocked Smartphones

Extras and Perks

Going with a prepaid carrier often means giving up the kind of bonuses one of the Big Four carriers dangle at customers. But MetroPCS and Boost do offer some benefits to their subscribers.

MetroPCS offers a Data Maximizer with its tiered data plans, giving you the option of streaming video at lower resolutions so that you’re not consuming as much data. If you’ve got the 6GB plan, you can stream music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, Apple Music and Spotify without using up any of your allotted LTE data. Both tiered data plans also let you use your phone as a mobile hotspot.

Tidal Hi-Fi's app interfaceTidal Hi-Fi’s app interfaceLike MetroPCS, Boost lets subscribers on its tiered data plan stream music from select services — six in Boost’s case — without it drawing from its data pool. Boost customers can also sign up for six free months of Tidal HiFi, a streaming service that normally costs $20 a month. Subscribers can also earn account credits by installing the Boots Dealz app, which puts ads and offers on their phones.

Bottom Line

If you’re debating whether to choose MetroPCS or Boost, MetroPCS ticks off the two most important considerations — coverage and price. T-Mobile’s network performs better than Sprint’s in more areas, and MetroPCS customers reap that benefit. MetroPCS plans offer more options, including a more compelling unlimited offering.

Boost customers can expect better customer service, and if you buy a device through the carrier, you’ll have a wider selection of affordably priced handsets. While MetroPCS’s plans are generally more attractive, Boost’s current unlimited-data offer to families who switch to its service promises noteworthy savings.

MetroPCS is the better option for most users. But Boost has enough going for it to make the decision tougher than you might think.

Credit: Tom’s Guide

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