Peter Adderton founded Boost Mobile in Australia in 2000. Optus began licensing the Boost Mobile brand that same year.
In 2012, Optus ended its business relationship with Boost. In October, Boost announced a deal to resell access to Telstra. After 20 January 2013, all existing Boost customers were converted to Optus customers and continued to receive services on the Optus network. On March 7, Boost Tel PTY Limited began to offer products and services under the Boost Pre-paid Mobile brand as an MVNO hosted on the Telstra Next G network.
Boost Mobile in New Zealand was a subsidiary of Telecom New Zealand. The Boost Mobile brand was discontinued in New Zealand as of November 2007.
In June 2010, Boost Mobile launched a viral marketing campaign that purported to identify text messaging disorders in order to bring attention to Boost Mobile's offer of 100 texts for one dollar. Australian television programme Media Watch criticized both the campaign itself and certain Australian media outlets that had failed to uncover the underlying marketing campaign, reporting the disorders as straight news. The Age was one of the few publications to recognise that the campaign was a "ruse ... to get the company's name mentioned in the media." As part of the campaign Boost Mobile cited an academic paper co-authored by Dr. Shari Walsh of the Queensland University of Technology. However, Dr. Walsh stated that her paper did not identify any texting disorders and that Boost Mobile was not accurately representing her research.
After founding Boost Mobile in Australia and New Zealand in 2000, Peter Adderton, Craig Cooper, and Kirt McMaster brought the Boost Mobile brand to the United States in 2001 as a joint venture with Nextel Communications. Using Nextel's iDEN network, Boost Mobile offered an unlimited push-to-talk service, marketed as only costing a dollar a day, at a time when cellphone plans offering unlimited talk were still rare. The service was initially exclusive to markets in areas of California and Nevada and was marketed towards urban minorities, often using urban slang in advertisements. Eventually, Nextel became the sole owner of Boost's United States operations in 2003. Nextel began to expand the brand elsewhere in the United States in late 2004.
Sprint Corporation acquired Nextel Communications in 2005, leaving Boost Mobile as a subsidiary of the merged company, Sprint Nextel Corporation. Boost Mobile still continued to use the previous Nextel iDEN infrastructure for its service, but in 2006, began to offer a new Unlimited by Boost Mobile service in select markets using Sprint's CDMA network, offering unlimited talk, text, and internet. While the plans resulted in significant growth for Boost Mobile, Boost did not begin shifting to CDMA entirely.
To compete with unlimited offerings from competitors in the wireless industry, Boost Mobile announced on January 15, 2009, that it would launch a Monthly Unlimited Plan. The plan was accompanied by re-focusing the brand towards a broader demographic than before. The new unlimited plan resulted in a net gain of more than 674,000 customers in about three months. Despite this lift, Nextel overall suffered a gross subscriber loss of 1.25 million contract subscriptions. The unexpected surge in popularity for the service caused significant strain on the Nextel iDEN network—as many customers reported long and sometimes week-long delays in receiving text messages. A Boost Mobile spokesman said that they did not anticipate the level of popularity for the new service and that efforts to improve the network had been implemented to help mitigate the problem.
At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, Boost Mobile announced it would begin to offer a new unlimited plan using Sprint's CDMA network. Sprint would also acquire fellow prepaid wireless provider Virgin Mobile USA in 2010—both Boost and Virgin Mobile would be re-organized into a new group within Sprint, encompassing the two brands and other no-contract phone services offered by the company.
Boost Mobile's parent company decommissioned the iDEN network on June 30, 2013; most iDEN customers have been migrated to the Sprint CDMA network.
In January 2020, Sprint discontinued the Virgin Mobile USA brand and transferred its customers to Boost Mobile.
On April 1, 2020, Sprint merged with T-Mobile, which also announced plans to sell Boost Mobile to Dish Network. The sale was completed on July 1. All new Boost Mobile customers will use the T-Mobile network, with the remaining Sprint customers to be moved to the T-Mobile network over time.
In June 2010, Boost Mobile launched the Motorola i1 smartphone, Boost's first iDEN-based push-to-talk Android phone, and in April 2011, they announced the Samsung Galaxy Prevail, the company's first CDMA-based Android offering.
In July 2012, Boost Mobile released the BlackBerry Curve 9310, and in March 2013, they released the HTC One SV and the ZTE-made Boost Force smartphone, the company's first device using Sprint's 4G LTE network. In June that year, Boost Mobile released the LG Optimus F7, the company's first device with a removable Universal Integrated Circuit Card for LTE network authentication/access, a new form of Subscriber identity module.
In December 2014, Boost Mobile released the Lumia 635, its first smartphone using Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system, and in July 2015, they launched the NETGEAR Fuse along with no-contract Wi-Fi Hotspot plans, its first Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot device.
The Boost Mobile brand was initially marketed to the teen and young adult demographics, heavily focused on action sports, lifestyle and urban music. Boost Mobile's past American advertising campaigns featured Fat Joe, Master Shake, Eve, Travis Barker, Kanye West, Travis Pastrana, Ludacris, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, Nick Cannon, and The Game and used the slang slogan "Where you at?" In late 2007, a Boost Mobile commercial with Young Jeezy, Jermaine Dupri, and Mickey Avalon was released.