Sprint intros Boost campaign ahead of Virgin Mobile relaunch

The new Boost campaign comes as Sprint prepares a long-delayed relaunch of its Virgin Mobile brand.

Sprint introduced a marketing campaign for its Boost Mobile brand ahead of its long-delayed relaunch of Virgin Mobile.

The nation’s fourth-largest wireless operator unveiled “Project Switch,” a campaign designed to illustrate the ease with which customers can move to the Boost prepaid brand from other service providers. Boost also launched a new plan that includes four lines of so-called “unlimited data” for $100 a month—the first line is $100 a month and up to three additional lines are free—although the provider “deprioritizes” data when the network is congested, and other restrictions apply.

Sprint is pushing the campaign with TV ads starting today in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami, and it said it plans to open more than 1,000 new Boost stores by the end of the year.

Sprint has struggled to compete in prepaid over the last two years, but it appears to be regaining its footing in a market that has become increasingly competitive. It added 180,000 prepaid net users during the first quarter of 2017 after losing 501,000 prepaid customers in the final quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, Sprint continues to prepare for a relaunch of its other prepaid brand, Virgin Mobile. A relaunch of Virgin was slated for the fourth quarter of 2016 but was quietly pushed back until sometime this year, and Sprint continues to experiment with various marketing strategies as it promises a “disrupter brand” in the prepaid market. Sprint has yet to commit to a relaunch date, although CEO said recently the company expects it to occur by the end of July.

Claure last week promised that the company’s delayed relaunch of its Virgin prepaid brand would include a “disruptive” offer from Apple. That statement has led some in the industry to speculate that Sprint may soon offer cheaper, used iPhones coupled with a less expensive unlimited service from its Virgin brand.

Claure’s recent comments were noteworthy since they came almost one year after he promised to relaunch the Virgin brand sometime in 2016. "We're also in the process of relaunching our Virgin brand this year with a much stronger value proposition," Claure said in May of 2016. Virgin is "going through a transformation," Claure added, and will be "a very different carrier than it used to be" when it relaunches sometime in the second half of 2016.