By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Overland Park, Kan. – Sprint announced July 19 availability and pricing of its first three LTE devices operating on three frequency bands to boost in-building coverage and increased speed and capacity.
The data devices include Netgear’s Zing mobile hot spot and 341U USB modem, priced respectively at $49 after $50 mail-in rebate via a reward card and $19 after the rebate. The third data device is Novatel’s MiFi 500 LTE, which is priced at $49 with the rebate.
Triband LTE phones from Samsung and LG are expected by the end of the year.
The devices will be available through Sprint’s direct channels, and consumers will be able to order it for direct shipment to their homes through indirect retailers, a spokesperson told TWICE.
The data devices will operate in Sprint’s primary 1.9GHz band, which delivers average speeds of 6Mbps to 8Mbps with 25Mbps peaks for the downlink and 2Mbps to 3Mbps for the uplink. The devices will also operate in the lower 800MHz band sometime later this year. That spectrum, said to excel at in-building coverage because of its lower frequencies, had been used for Sprint’s 2G iDEN network, which was shut down June 30 and is being repurposed for LTE use.
The three devices will also use the 2.5GHz band for LTE when that spectrum, formerly owned by Clearwire but purchased this month in whole by Sprint, is converted from 4G Mobile WiMAX technology on a timetable that hasn’t been announced. That band is expected to add faster speeds and capacity in densely populated cities, Sprint said.
Sprint offers 4G LTE service on its 1.9GHz band in 110 markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico. It has promised to bring LTE to markets with a population of 200 million people by the end of 2013.
The devices can be paired with mobile broadband data plans starting at $34.99 per month excluding taxes and fees for 3GB of combined 3G/4G data while on the Sprint network. Other plans include a $49 plan with 6GB of combined 3G/4G data and $79 with 12GB of 3G/4G data.
Netgear’s Zing connects to up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices and is the first mobile hot spot from Sprint with a 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen display to access menu settings and adjust them. It delivers up to 10 hours of battery life with its 2,500 mAh battery.
The Netgear 341U USB modem features a built-in LCD display to monitor connection status, signal strength and data usage. No installation CD is needed. It also features integrated GPS for location-based services, and it swivels up to 180 degrees to fold away.
The Novatel mobile hot spot connects to up to 10 devices and comes with battery lasting up to 10 hours. Data usage can be checked via a web interface. It also features GPS for use with location-based apps.
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