Boost Mobile: 50 more stores coming by year-end

Boost Mobile is planning on expanding its retail presence by adding 50 more exclusive stores by the end of the year in anticipation of what the company sees as the growing popularity of its prepaid wireless service. The move is a significant one for Sprint Nextel's prepaid unit, which currently has only three retail stores.

Boost brought in 764,000 prepaid iDEN subscribers to Sprint in the first quarter, and has touted its $50 per month unlimited voice, data and texting plan as a solid value proposition in the economic recession. However, Boost has also acknowledged that the network was "overwhelmed" by the amount of traffic it received, which reportedly caused text messaging delays. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said during Sprint's first quarter earnings conference call that the company had solved the problem.

Boost Mobile's president, Matt Carter, who has said in the past that the unlimited plan picked off customers from larger rivals such as T-Mobile USA, said that the success of the plan has led the prepaid unit to look for ways to expand its market reach. "What's important to us is street visibility," Carter told Reuters in an interview. "We think it's going to help us quite a lot."

The company currently has stores in Houston, Los Angeles and Miami and will soon expand to 10 more cities in this quarter, including Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. Boost will open 40 more stores by the end of the year, according to Carter.

Boost's service has put it in direct competition with regional carriers such as MetroPCS, which added a company-record 684,000 subscribers in the first quarter, and Leap Wireless, which had around 493,000 net subscriber additions in the quarter. T-Mobile has also introduced a $50 unlimited calling plan for certain longtime customers.  

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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