Dallas - AT&T plans Nov. 22 availability of its first wireless USB modem to incorporate the 7.2Mbps version of its HSPA cellular-data technology.
The Sierra Wireless-made USBConnect Lightning will be available for $99 in AT&T stores, indirect retailers, ATT's business channels and the carrier's Web site. The price is after a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract for a DataConnect plan of at least $35 a month. The rebate takes the form of an AT&T promotion card. Plan options include a 200MB plan at a newly reduced price of $35/month or a 5GB plan at $60/month.
The USB modem features a lighted design with a swivel hinge for use in horizontal- or vertical-oriented USB ports.
AT&T plans to offer commercial HSPA 7.2 service by the end of the year in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. The company plans to deploy HSPA 7.2 in 25 of the nation's 30 largest markets by the end of 2010 and to expand to about 90 percent of AT&T's existing 3G footprint by the end of 2011.
The modem comes preloaded with AT&T Communication Manager (ACM) 7.0 software for use in laptops. The software, which is Windows 7-compatible, automatically connects users to any of AT&T's 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots at no extra cost on eligible rate plans.