Sprint Nextel announced Wednesday that it will start selling dual-mode 3G/4G wireless broadband modems for laptops starting Sunday.
The new device allows users to access both Sprint's 3G cellular data network and the new 4G WiMax wireless network the company is building as part of the new Clearwire venture.
The modem known as the Sprint 3G/4G USB Modem U300 will use the new 4G Clearwire network with download speeds between 2 Mbps and 4Mbps where that network is available. And when users are out of range of the 4G wireless network, they will automatically be able to access Sprint's 3G network, which offers average downloads of between 600 Kbps and 1.4 Mbps, according to Sprint.
Sprint launched the 4G WiMax network called Xohm in Baltimore in October, just months before it officially merged its WiMax network with Clearwire's network. The service will be launched in other markets across the country throughout 2009.
At the Baltimore launch, Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse promised a wireless data device that would allow users to access both networks for better coverage.
"It will take a while for the new (4G) network to be built ubiquitously," Hesse said during the Baltimore press event. "And we will have new multimode devices that will use 4G where it's available, and when it's not, it will downshift to 3G to provide that ubiquitous data coverage."
The new wireless modem connects via a standard USB port and costs $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year subscription to the wireless data service. The wireless modem will be available through Sprint's direct business sales force and at most Baltimore-area Sprint stores and select Baltimore-area retailers, the company said. Starting in January, the device will also be available in Baltimore-area Best Buy stores.
The new wireless modem from Sprint will likely be a better deal for most consumers because the service, which costs $79.99 per month, offers the best coverage at the best price.… Read more