Want to save some cash on your next phone bill? Sprint’s prepaid arm, Boost Mobile, has an option.
Sprint (S) on Tuesday announced a new way for Boost Mobile customers to save $5 per month. All they need to do is download a free Android application called Boost Dealz.
The app, which is unavailable on Apple’s iOS, is solely for displaying ads from various companies interested in marketing to Boost Mobile’s customers. Critics could argue that the feature is essentially adware, or software that delivers ads to the device it’s running on.
However, Sprint sees it as a way to save customers some cash. According to the company, Boost Dealz displays the ads “at various times” when customers turn on their devices. Users who uninstall the app lose the $5 monthly credit.
Unlike Sprint’s standard service, Boost Mobile lets users pay for service as they go. In most cases, prepaid providers offer affordable rates, but a much smaller smartphone selection. Although there are some independent prepaid companies, most providers are owned by the big four carriers and route calls, data, and text messaging, over their respective owners’ networks.
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Sprint’s advertising move is part of a broader push in the wireless industry to try to capitalize on mobile advertising revenue. Indeed, research firm eMarketer said last year that mobile ad revenue generated by companies as far-reaching as Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL), topped $30.5 billion in 2015. The company added that mobile ad revenue would only grow as marketers increasingly turn their attention to smartphones and tablets.
Carriers, meanwhile, have been left out. While all of that traffic and the ads are served through their networks, they’re not reaping the rewards. In a bid to stop that, Verizon (VZ) last year acquired AOL for $4.4 billion. Verizon made it clear that AOL’s appeal was in its advertising network, and the carrier’s newfound ability through the deal to generate ad revenue.
Sprint’s idea is somewhat novel in its approach for mobile carriers. For one, the company is not forcing Boost customers to sign up for the service. The company is also using its prepaid brand, which has far fewer customers, to gauge public response. If it goes well, it’s possible that Sprint’s model could be followed by other carriers, or that the company could try to expand it across its broader network.
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Still, since some customers won’t consider watching ads to save $5 a month worth it, Boost is offering another way for customers to get the credit. Anyone who sets up automatic payments with Boost will also get a $5 monthly discount.