In a revelation that should probably not surprise anyone (certainly not me), it appears that the prepaid phone folks have slower network performance than the "big boys", even though they typically use the same physical networks. I figure the lower fees have to be accounted for somewhere.
I currently use Boost Mobile myself, and always use my wireless network when I am at home; whatever the speeds are on the Boost Mobile data plan, they are more than adequate for my needs. I visit YouTube and the like only occasionally on my phone, but the speed is fine.
The big four national carriers aren't exactly known for helping you trim your monthly spending. So budget-minded consumers often turn to prepaid carriers like MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Cricket, Virgin Mobile, and Boost to find a cellphone plan that isn't murder on their wallet.
In a test that factored in multiple US cities, Tom's Guide found that prepaid carriers and MVNOs were often slower than the big four — even when sharing the same network.