After acquiring Boost Mobile as part of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger in 2020 and snapping up Republic Wireless for its 5G network earlier this year, Dish is finally ready to turn Boost Mobile into the fourth wireless carrier that the FCC envisioned.
Its opening salvo? The satellite television provider is introducing an exclusive budget 5G phone for Boost Mobile’s prepaid customers.
The Celero5G is a “custom-built phone” for Boost Mobile, according to its spokesperson. Just like T-Mobile’s Revvl or AT&T’s Radiant, it has unique branding that you won’t find anywhere else. For a carrier that is trying to expand its user base, this is certainly an unusual way to get there. After all, most other carriers try to dangle the latest flagship phones from Apple and Android to lure you to sign up for their expensive post-paid service plans, like the deluge of “free” iPhone 13 offers from the Big 3 carriers.
“With LG leaving the mobile device market and creating seismic shifts in the supplier landscape, we saw an opportunity,” said a Boost Mobile spokesperson. “The departure of LG left a significant hole in the Boost lineup. Celero5G is the response to fill that hole.”
Not much is known about this 5G phone at the moment besides the fact its name, Celero5G, is inspired by the “Latin word for speed.” According to the press release, the phone has a 6.52-inch display, four cameras, 36 hours of battery life, 4GB RAM, a microSD card slot, and 64GB of internal storage — all respectable specifications for a budget phone. Like the sub-$300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G, this phone is probably powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 5G chip that makes 5G connectivity possible at this price point. It also has a 4,000 mAh battery and 15W fast charger so you should be able to recharge your phone quickly when you run out of power.
Judging by the press materials that Boost Mobile provided, it looks like the Celero5G has an iPhone-like metallic trim around the phone, and a glass back, which are rather upscale touches for a phone of this class.
The best part about this phone is the plan. If you pre-order the Celero5G by October 31, 2021, you will get 12 months of free unlimited talk, text, and data service from Boost Mobile. Of course, it’s not completely unlimited: you will be downgraded to 2G after burning through 35GB of data, but it’s still plenty to use comfortably. Dish and Boost Mobile will even give you a free case for your $279 Celero5G 5G phone.
Signing up and keeping existing Boost Mobile customers with the Celero5G may be the easiest part of realizing Dish’s 5G dreams. Its biggest challenge will be to build out and provide national coverage to its 5G service — a project that is much more expensive and challenging than releasing an exclusive 5G phone.
Correction, September 30th, 2021, 12:24PM ET: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the Celero5G phone costs $280 rather than $279, and included a quote that was not in the final release.
Update, September 30th, 2021, 12:24pm ET: Added in extra details like the Celero5G’s battery size and charger.