4G Now Available, but Perhaps too Early
Posted by David Liu 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.