Virgin USA and Boost Mobile add contract-free 4G LTE handsets

LTE comes to no-contract customers

Sprint Nextel-owned Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile are finally dipping a no-contract toe into high-speed data with Android smartphones from Samsung and HTC.

Virgin Mobile USA announced its first 4G LTE-equipped smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Victory, is now available to its no-contract customers.

Available now from the Virgin Mobile website, the $299.99 device is powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and will be available at participating retailers everywhere in mid-March.

The Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE promises to deliver a postpaid experience with no contract, especially when coupled with the carrier's Beyond Talk unlimited data and messaging plans, which start at $35 per month.

LTE coverage limited

Another Sprint mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) also received its first taste of 4G LTE on Monday, with Boost Mobile announcing the HTC One SV with similar specs and a price matching Virgin's new offering. It is available March 7.

Although the HTC One SV features Android 4.0, the rest of its specs largely duplicate Samsung's Virgin Mobile offering. Each, for example, are powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor.

Both handsets also include a rear-facing 5MP camera with HD video recording, a front-facing camera and Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and Wi-Fi wireless technology.

You might want to check Virgin and Boost Mobile wireless coverage before buying, however: Sprint's 4G LTE network is currently only available in a little more than 50 markets, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas and Houston.