As prepaid devices continue trying to play catch up with postpaid devices’ hardware, it appears that they’ll finally make the move in network enhancements as well. After talking it up with a close source, it was revealed to us that Virgin Mobile USA is targeting a June release for its first step into the world of 4G, echoing what was reported earlier by our pals over at PocketNow. As with its current 3G setup leaning on Sprint’s network, the popular prepaid service will also look to the Now Network to keep its 4G afloat. The only drawback here is that the service will be leaning on Sprint’s stagnate WiMAX network and not its shiny new 4G LTE network.
In addition to using Sprint’s last-gen 4G, our source advised that Virgin Mobile will also rehash some of the carrier’s old WiMAX inventory, such as HTC’s EVO 3D, by rebranding the device with a Virgin Mobile friendly name. Not stopping at just Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s other MVNO Boost Mobile is pegged to step into the WiMAX arena around the same time with a similar strategy.
It’s said both carriers will offer “unlimited” talk, text and 4G data, but are expected to throttle data speeds once a customer exceeds 2.5GB of data usage. Even if you’re not a fan of WiMAX, this is still a step forward for these two major prepaid carriers and it’s also good to see Sprint get some type of return on its WiMAX investment with Clearwire as it moves forward with its deployment of LTE.