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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 16, 2008 at 9:00 PM

Sprint unveils 3G/4G combo USB modem, for really early adopters

Here’s another USB dongle that can make a geek drool: The new 3G/4G dual-mode mobile broadband modem that Sprint is announcing Wednesday.

sprintmodem.jpg

Sprint’s USB Modem U300 automatically switches to the fastest available network, reaching DSL-like download speeds of 2 Mbps to 4 Mbps with 4G Wimax service (or 600 kbps to 1.4 Mbps on 3G).

“This first-of-its-kind device allows our customers to take the Internet with them essentially wherever they go by gaining enhanced speed and capability in 4G markets and the nationwide coverage of our 3G network across the rest of the country,” Chief Executive Dan Hesse said in the release.

Unfortunately this device only really does its stuff in Baltimore for now – that’s only city yet with the full Sprint-Clearwire 4G service – and it’s not cheap to use.

The U300 costs $150, after rebate and if you sign up for a two-year contract to get 4G mobile service for $80 per month.

Clearwire’s next 4G launch will be in Portland on Jan. 6. The company has said Seattle will get 4G in early 2009, so perhaps it will be here a few months after Portland.

By then, chances are good there will be an array of 4G and multi-mode 3G/4G devices available, including mobile phones and computers with the radios inside.

If you can’t wait, the U300 (which is made by Franklin Wireless) goes on sale Dec. 21 at Sprint stores and other retailers in Baltimore and in January at Baltimore-area Best Buy stores.

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