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Sprint Readies Wireless 3G/4G USB Modem

Overland Park, Kan. — Sprint plans Dec. 21 availability of its first dual-mode 3G/4G device, the U300 USB Modem.

The data-card modem U300, which operates in Mobile WiMax mode at an average downlink speed of 2Mbps to 4 Mbps on the Clearwire WiMax network in Baltimore. The modem operates with an average 600Kbps to 1.4Mbps download speed elsewhere on Sprint’s own CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A cellular network. Sprint Connection Manager software recognizes and connects to the fastest network available.

Sprint launched 4G in Baltimore in September and plans to launch in other markets across the country throughout 2009.

The modem, made by Franklin Wireless, connects to a standard USB port of a laptop or other portable computing device. It will cost $149.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement, after a $50 mail-in rebate. With the modem, users in Baltimore will be able to take advantage of a $79.99 dual-mode service plan for access to both high-speed networks. For 3G data use, Sprint’s monthly limit of 5GB of data applies. 4G network usage isn’t currently capped, a spokesperson said.

Consumers will be able to buy the data card beginning Dec. 21 from the Sprint direct business sales force, most Baltimore-area Sprint stores, and select Baltimore-area retailers. Starting in January, the device will also be available in Baltimore-area Best Buy stores.