Sprint to launch first batch of tri-band 4G LTE hardware on July 19Alex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
After initially announcing its first batch of tri-band 4G LTE mobile broadband products earlier this year, Sprint today revealed when consumers will actually be able to get their mitts on the new hardware. Sprint says that the MiFi 500 LTE from Novatel (shown above), the Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot (shown below), the Netgear 341U USB Modem and will hit its yellow shelves on July 19. Pricing and features for each model are as follows:
- Novatel MiFi 500 LTE: $49.99 with a two-year commitment and $50 mail-in rebate. Includes a screen that can display signal strength, battery status, and the number of connected devices. Also packs in support for GPS over Wi-Fi, advanced security options, support for up to 10 simultaneous connections, and a battery that's said to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.
- Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot: $49.99 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate. Features a 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen, Settings menu that includes brightness and network options, support for up to 10 simultaneous connections, a 2,500mAh battery. The Netgear Zing is also the first mobile hotspot on Sprint to meet the carrier's environmental specifications, offering a 75 percent recyclability rating and a 100 percent recyclable package.
- Netgear 341U USB Modem: $19.99 with a two-year commitment and $50 mail-in rebate. Features a built-in LCD for displaying connection status, signal strength, and data usage.
As the "tri-band" descriptor used for these devices suggests, all three of Sprint's new mobile broadband devices support the 800MHz, 1.9GHz, and 2.5GHz bands that Sprint will use for its LTE network. Sprint originally began rolling out its LTE service on the 1.9GHz band, but the big yellow operator has since shut down its Nextel iDEN network and has said that it plans to use that spectrum for its LTE coverage. Sprint also recently acquired Clearwire and will use its 2.5GHz spectrum for LTE service as well.
The fact that Sprint will be utilizing three different bands for its LTE network may seem a bit confusing, but the fact that it's got access to all three could really help it to build out a strong LTE network. Thankfully, Sprint is planning to offer LTE hardware that can access all three bands, so consumers that pick these new devices up can rest easy knowing that they'll have access to the three flavors of Sprint LTE service. Sprint has said that it plans to introduce tri-band LTE smartphones before the end of 2013.