4G Now Available, but Perhaps too Early

Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Business News, Business Start Up Advice, Business Technology [ 2 Comments ]

While there have been conflicting reports as the actual available download and upload speeds available through Sprint’s Overdrive 4G mobile hotspot, the product itself seems to offer a rather divisive first look into current 4G internet options.

The product is promised as a 4G/3G modem of sorts, offering tethered or wireless connections for up to 5 devices (ranging from cell phones to laptops). In cities with supported 4G the reviews from initial users have been positive, mentioning that the speeds were indeed impressive enough to warrant a next generation-type of label.

While the speeds weren’t as high as the suggested 10mpbs for most users, they were fast enough to warrant the $49 purchase (with 2year service, $499 without). Perhaps the biggest pitfall for Sprint will be that their product has come out ahead of their actual 4G support schedules, making the process a purchase-at-your-own risk transaction.

Currently, the wireless provider’s 4G connections are only promised in 31 select cities – while the number is growing, the amount of users who are willing to shell out money for both a device and a service that isn’t national (let alone state-wide) isn’t. With providers like Verizon and AT&T offering prospective dates for their own 4G services in 2011, Sprint may have some time to build up a consumer base.

However, all other carriers plan on building upon a separate version of wireless internet called LTE, which varies enough from Sprint/Clearwater’s WiMAX 4G services to warrant a restructuring if the other brands manage to take off by 2011. Any changes to Sprint’s network, and any customers who have paid for uninterrupted service, will likely be hurt by any changes that occur, especially if WiMAX support has spread past the current number of cities.

While the concept of 4G is impressive, considering how smaller wireless companies like T-Mobile, Cricket, and Boost Mobile have only recently started full support of current 3G wireless, the fact remains that releasing an unsupported product in a brand new market may not work as well as Sprint had hoped.

2 thoughts on “4G Now Available, but Perhaps too Early

  1. avatarCarl

    I just don’t get your review. Of course the device is supported. The coverage maps are well defined. A buyer can take a look at the maps and make an informed decision. Many more cities will become available in the next year. For anyone that needs fast coverage in the cities mapped out, this purchase is a no-brainer. A typical user could care less if the underlying technology is wimax or lte. And you can bet that at least initially lte operators won’t let their subscribers roam onto other lte networks or will but with additional charges making lte interworking not terribly desirable. The device is totally backward compatible with the existing 3g network which is ubiqtious and pretty fast as well. And to top it off, I get the feeling that you didn’t actually review the product but rather skimmed other reviews on the net.

  2. avatarfredx

    If you take a deeper look into the current WIMAX hardware install base of Sprint. You will find out that the last 26 selected cities have equipment which supports dual mode (WIMAX and LTE) at the same time. If Sprint/Clearwire moves to LTE they can (and I guess will) run it parallel on each tower. I don’t expect the equipment to be exchange for the next 4 years. With this in mind I predict a paralell run of WIMAX and LTE on Sprint/Clearwire for at least 3 years (2011 to 2014). And then nobody cares about a bulky slow device out of 2010.

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