Sprint Nextel announced today that it will be selling WWAN modems capable of both 3G and 4G connections starting Sunday. Labeled the Sprint 3G/4G USB Modem U300 will connect to both Sprint's 3G network and the new 4G WiMax network being built as part of their Clearwire venture.
The 4G download speeds will range from 2Mbps to 4Mbps, where the 3G download speeds will range between 600Kbps and 1.4Mbps. Conveniently, the modem is smart enough to seamlessly connect to the 3G network in areas where 4G is not available.
And that's a really good thing considering there currently isn't any 4G Clearwire network outside of greater Baltimore.
Making excellent if gratuitous use of a large obscure word, Spring CEO Dan Heese explained: "It will take a while for the new (4G) network to be built ubiquitously... And we will have new multimode devices that will use 4G where it's available, and when it's not, it will downshift to 3G to provide that ubiquitous data coverage."
The 3G/4G modem will cost $150 (after a $50 rebate) so long as you package it with a two year subscription to Sprint's wireless plan at $79.99 a month. In a way, this is a deal, because their 3G plan is currently $59.99 a month and the existing 4G plan runs about $45 a month. In another way, this is really expensive, because $80 a month for two years is a lot of money.