– Sprint Nextel launched its first two Wi-Fi routers that connect Wi-Fi-equipped
smartphones and laptops to the carrier’s 4G mobile WiMAX network.
$249.99 Cradlepoint MBR-1000 broadband router and the $159.99 personal hot spot
PHS300S must be used with plug-in 3G/4G USB modems supplied by Sprint to
connect Wi-Fi devices to the Internet. The business-oriented model works on AC
power and connects with up to 32 Wi-Fi devices at a time. The personal hot spot
works off an internal lithium-ion battery or AC, and it connects to up to four Wi-Fi
devices at a time. Both can also be used with Sprint’s 3G USB
The PHS300S is
available in select Sprint-owned stores within Sprint 4G markets, through the
carrier’s telesales and business sales operations, and through www.sprint.com. The MBR1000 broadband router
is available through the carrier’s business sales and telesales channels and at
www.sprint.com. They can be used with any
Sprint 3G or 4G data plan ranging from $39.99 to $79.99 per month.
Sprint offers 4G service in Baltimore
and plans this month to launch 4G in Portland, Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Later in 2009, Sprint will add the following markets: Atlanta,
Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las
Vegas, Philadelphia and Seattle and Portland,
WiMAX service provides average downlink speeds of 3Mbps to 6 Mbps, said to be three
to five times faster than the 3G services available from other carriers. The
peak downlink speed is more than 10Mbps.
Earlier this year,
the carrier launched
a battery-powered 3G portable hot spot, the Novatel-made MiFi 2200 at $99 after $50 mail-in rebate
with two-year wireless-data service contract. The device, also available
through Verizon Wireless, incorporates embedded CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A cellular-data
modem and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, enabling up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Other 3G/Wi-Fi routers
include a transportable in-vehicle cellular hotspot launched
by Autonet. It moves from car to car but must be docked with an installed
mounting kit. For its part, Kyocera continues to offer a KR2 Wi-Fi router that
operates off AC, comes with car cigarette-lighter adapter, and accepts a 3G
EV-DO data card to connect to up to 20 Wi-Fi-equipped laptops to the Internet.