Dish Networks’ Boost Mobile has introduced a new privacy-focused bundle that features tools for encrypted Wi-Fi, visual voicemail, and spam call blocking. Privacy is one of four macro areas the prepaid brand is focusing on to come up with products that also bring value for customers, according to Stephen Stokols, head of Boost Mobile.
The Privacy Premium add-on costs $5.99 per month and is available to customers only with Android smartphones and with data plans on Boost’s Expanded Data Network.
Boost said the bundle aims to protect users’ data at the device level, giving customers online identity protection, limiting virus expose and blocking spammers.
The secure Wi-Fi feature automatically encrypts data when a device joins any Wi-Fi network to help project against identify theft. The Call Screener Premium feature identifies, reports, and automatically blocks unwanted spam calls, while the Premium Visual Voicemail transcribes voicemails to tests and gives the options to automatically forward to email.
On the spam and robocalling front, the FCC has been trying to target the issue for years. Major carriers have all made efforts to stop the deluge of unwanted calls for subscribers, including T-Mobile who last year called out competitors to step up their anti-robocalling game. AT&T and Verizon quickly followed back pointing out their own actions to tackle robocalls.
Boost Mobile’s Stokols said the company overall is aiming to differentiate and innovate in the wireless space.
In terms of the strategy across digital, he told FierceWireless that Boost is looking at the macro issues for its current customer base and the broader market it is hoping to expand to, and what products or services make sense to introduce from the perspective of a mobile service provider.
Stokols noted that for many operators that’s been content, such as bundling Netflix or other streaming services. The four areas Boost Mobile is focused on are privacy, financial services, healthcare, and gambling.
“When you think about our strategy, we’re looking to offer relevant value across all four dimensions, starting with the privacy bundle,” he said.
The privacy bundle is a direct need, he said, especially in the last 12 months.
“There’s a huge concern or growing concern of our customers, our base and those we’re going after and to expand to, around privacy,” Stokols said.
In addition to carriers selling data to third parties (carriers found themselves in hot water including fines last year when it came to selling location data), he also pointed to concerns over Facebook, and apps tracking data for advertising revenue.
“We’re offering anonymous browsing, we’re building a sort of VPN capability that allows you to kind of mask a lot of the data that gets shared… as well as just protection from some of the more malicious spyware or malware that’s starting to propagate especially on Android devices” in addition to basic annoyances like spam calls and texts.
Over the next year, Stokols said there will be bigger plays that speak to the other three main areas.
When it comes to financial services, for its existing market, many customers may not have a traditional banking relationship, he noted, but are served by high profile digital startups like Chime, for example, or currently pay with cash.
A digital banking product, synonymous with smartphones and the device element on Boost’s side “really speaks to our customer base,” Stokols said.
“We’re saying, what is a solution that we can offer that addresses a lot of these concerns,” Stokols said. He couldn’t go into much more detail, saying it would be premature, but added that “it’s something we’re looking at heavily,” along with the other areas mentioned.
As for sports betting, earlier this week Boost-owner Dish Network announced a new app integration with DraftKings, starting with its TV platform. It’s a Dish-centric agreement, but the deal also allows for DraftKings sportsbook and daily fantasy experiences with Boost Mobile in the future.
* For clarity, headline changed to replace the word 'bundle' with 'add-on'