As everyone already knows, AT&T’s 3G network is not the most dependable high-speed data network available in town. That doesn’t mean it won’t be significantly upgraded in the very near future. In fact AT&T is currently working on HSPA 7.2Mbps so we’re probably looking at faster connectivity options in the upcoming months.
Therefore the company has decided to launch its brand new 3G USB modem, the USBConnect Lightning. Made by Sierra Wireless the device will be available in retail stores, business channels and online starting with November 22.
Besides connecting to AT&T’s HSPA 7.2Mbps network, the Lightning will also connect to AT&T’s hotspots around the country which means you’ll be able to use it successfully on the go and keep working even when you’re out of the office. But does AT&T have enough HSPA connectivity available for us? Shouldn’t one simply switch to a wider 3G network?
The USBConnect Lightning comes with AT&T’s Communication Manager 7.0 which will let you manage your available connection and connect you automatically to AT&T Hot Spot at no cost on eligible plans. Speaking of plans you’ll have to know that a 200MB plan option is available for $35 per month while the 5GB plan is going to retail for $60 per month. The Lightning modem be available for free after a $100 mail-in rebate with a 2-year contract of at least $35 per month.
AT&T has also announced plans to launch HSPA services in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami by the end of the year. By the end of 2010 AT&T will deploy HSPA 7.2Mbps in 25 out of the nation’s 30 largest markets and by the end of 2011 AT&T’s HSPA network will reach about 90% of its current 3G network. Is that enough HSPA for you? Won’t Verizon Wireless deploy LTE by that time? And let’s not forget that Sprint’s WiMAX network is also being deployed as we speak. Customers will surely want to use a faster LTE connectivity instead of HSPA, won’t they?