Sprint to Switch Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile to WiMax

Virgin and Boost Mobile will be making the leap to 4G -- sort of. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recently announced that the company's prepaid brands will be bumped up to Clearwire's WiMax 4G, just as the rest of the company will be upgrading to 4G LTE.

While it seems that prepaid owners will be getting the short end of the stick, the announcement is actually a win for both sides. Boost and Virgin subscribers will have access to a faster wireless network. Sprint can continue to get some use out the WiMax network which its made a commitment to until 2015. Sprint also gets the added bonus of relatively broad coverage since WiMax already covers 80 markets.

While Sprint plans to launch LTE in six markets sometime this year, there's no word on when the company's prepaid customers will make the move to this faster network. Another unknown is whether or not Virgin and Boost subscribers can expect to see any new smartphones that take advantage of the newly gained speed.