Mobile Routers Go WiMAX

Sprint announced today their Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless. It allows you to connect up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices via Wi-Fi, with the Sprint 3G/4G network providing the backhaul. Typical average speeds for 3G are 600 kbps-1.7 Mbps (3G) and 3-6 Mbps (4G), although actual speeds may vary.

As the first dual-mode device of its kind, the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot can be used on both the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) network as well as Sprint’s 3G (EV-DO) Network. Sprint 4G is available in 27 markets and continues to expand to new cities, providing 1-10 Mbps mobile connections. In 2010, Sprint expects to launch service in multiple markets, including Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

It’s similar to the 3G-only MiFi device, from Sprint and Verizon which costs about $280 (without a contract) and uses only the cellular (EVDO) backhaul

Key features of Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot include a LCD that provides battery and internet connection status, as well as an easy-to-use web interface for customizing settings. It includes built-in GPS capability (on 3G), MicroSD slot for up to 16 GB memory cards creating shared storage with up to five connected devices, and an extended Wi-Fi range of up to 150 feet. It uses a Beceem WiMAX chipset.

Beginning on Jan. 10, customers will be able to purchase Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot exclusively from Sprint for $99.99 (excluding taxes) after a $50 mail-in-rebate with a two-year service agreement. Customers can purchase the device and sign up for 3G/4G plans at select Sprint retail stores and select Best Buy stores. Also beginning Jan. 10, Sprint will offer simplified 3G/4G data plans for consumers and businesses at $59.99 monthly (price plans exclude surcharges and taxes). The price for those that do not want a contract was not given.

Several other Mobile WiFi Hotspots were shown at CES:

Dan Hesse, Sprint’s CEO said there are currently more than 4 million Wi-Fi devices on the market and that number could reach 1 billion by 2012 says In-Stat. By the end of 2010, over 120 million U.S. residents are expected to have access to Clear 4G service.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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