By Sheila Dang
Sept 22 (Reuters) - Dish Network Corp DISH.O said on Tuesday it has hired a new leader for its Boost Mobile prepaid wireless phone brand, which will seek to fashion itself as the next innovator in the U.S. wireless industry.
Stephen Stokols, who previously founded prepaid brand FreedomPop, said in an interview that Boost has the potential to be as "disruptive" as U.S. carrier T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.O, which developed a reputation for shaking up the industry by setting precedents such as ending the traditional two-year phone contract.
Dish, a satellite television and internet provider, bought Boost Mobile in April as part of the merger between wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint, which owned Boost.
While most U.S. wireless customers pay recurring phone bills at the end of the month on postpaid plans, prepaid users pay for phone service upfront. The plans often appeal to lower-income customers as they do not require a credit check.
Boost aims to expand its digital operations to sell more of its phone plans online, Stokols said. Currently, Boost primarily sells plans at its large number of stores across the country.
The wireless industry has increasingly focused on selling phone plans with unlimited talk, text and data, but some wireless customers use small amounts of data on their smartphones.
"If you look at the data for users, most use under five gigabytes a month. There's a huge opportunity to deliver value by offering plan flexibility that addresses that," Stokols said, declining to offer specifics.
Rival wireless carriers are also ramping up investment in prepaid at a time when many Americans are cutting monthly expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Verizon Communications Inc bought Tracfone, the largest prepaid brand in the United States, for $6.25 billion.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
((Sheila.Dang@thomsonreuters.com; +1 972-974-3861))
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