Boost, Virgin intro prepaid WiMAX via HTC Evo smartphones
Following through on its promise to launch prepaid WiMAX services, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) announced its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands will begin offering unlimited, unthrottled WiMAX data services starting later this month. The offerings will coincide with the launch of the HTC Evo V 4G on Virgin for $299 and the HTC Evo Design 4G on Boost also for $299.
Evo V 4G
Sprint has offered postpaid WiMAX smartphones for years through its partnership with Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), but it is in the midst of upgrading its CDMA network to LTE. Sprint recently announced its first LTE phones, the LG Viper and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Thus, Sprint appears keen to push its WiMAX offerings down to two of its three prepaid wireless brands (Sprint also offers low-cost, prepaid voice services through its Assurance Wireless brand).
Here's how Sprint's new prepaid WiMAX services break down:
--Virgin Mobile's offerings start at $35 per month for unlimited messaging, 300 minutes of talk and unlimited data speeds. The carrier said there will be no throttling or caps on its WiMAX service. However, Virgin will slow users' CDMA data speeds after they consume 2.5 GB of data in a month. Users will be able to make use of the Evo V's tethering services for an extra $15 per month (and if they purchase the tethering plan, their CDMA data speeds will be slowed after 3.5 GB of data per month).
--Boost's unlimited talk, text and data services start at $55 per month and tethering on the Evo Design 4G will cost an extra $10 per month. Boost currently does not throttle or cap its CDMA data service, and it will not throttle or cap its WiMAX service.
However, Boost announced that "later this year" it too will begin slowing users' CDMA speeds after they consume 2.5 GB of data in a month. Virgin began slowing users' CDMA speeds in March. Boost said it will slow users' CDMA speeds to 256 Kbps if they use more than 2.5 GB in a month, but will restore full data speeds when a customer's new monthly plan begins. The move is an attempt to prevent users from overwhelming Sprint's data network. Boost confirmed it won't throttle users' WiMAX speeds.
Interestingly, Sprint continues to offer unthrottled, unlimited CDMA data via its postpaid Simply Everything plans, which it sells under its main Sprint brand.
In other prepaid news, TracFone's Straight Talk has begun selling a new Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Proclaim, for $179 when paired with its $45 unlimited service.
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