Overland Park, Kan. - 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.
Sprint's personal hot spot PHS300S at $159.99 must be used with plug-in 3G/4G USB modems to connect up to four Wi-Fi devices to the Internet via 3G and 4G networks.
The business-oriented $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 modems.
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, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Seattle and Portland, Ore.
Sprint's mobile 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.