Dish's Boost Mobile debuts its first proprietary 5G phone for under $300

The Celero5G will be available later this fall, giving Boost Mobile customers using older phones time to upgrade before 3G networks go dark.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer
Dish Networks

Boost Mobile on Thursday unveiled the Celero5G, a new 5G smartphone launching exclusively to Boost customers later this fall. At just $279, it's designed to be relatively affordable compared to other mid-tier Android devices. 

"Subscribers have told us loud and clear: they want speed, cool features, and a fair price," Boost Mobile CEO  Stephen Stokols said in a statement. "The Celero5G is built to make 5G affordable." 

The Celero5G boasts a 6.52-inch screen, a hard glass back, four cameras, 36 hours of battery life, and 4GB RAM/ 64GB ROM memory that's customizable with an SD card up to 2TB.

The device launch gives Boost Mobile customers using older phones time to upgrade before 3G networks go dark -- a cause for concern for Boost Mobile's parent company, Dish Networks. 

Dish jumped into wireless retail in 2019. Dish acquired Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint's prepaid business for approximately $1.4 billion as part of the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. 

The company has yet to roll out its own 5G network. However, as part of the merger, Dish was granted the ability to use T-Mobile's network for seven years while it built out its own. As ZDNet's sister site CNET noted last month, Dish is not happy about T-Mobile's plans to shut down Sprint's ageing 3G CDMA network on Jan. 1, 2022. 

During Dish's Q2 conference call in August, Dish co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen said that "a material amount of customers on January 1 will still have CDMA phones and will lose their service. And again, this is the most economically challenged group in America; Boost is not -- these aren't the customers that have bank accounts and high paying jobs. These are people that are challenged and so economically challenged. So I think it's even more important that these people don't lose their service."

Boost is appealing to both existing and potential new users with the Celero5G. After paying $279 for the device, new and existing customers will get 12 full months of free unlimited talk, text and data, plus a free, specially-designed phone case.

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