As Sprint tries to catch up with rivals who already have widespread LTE coverage areas, it also needs devices to take advantage of its network upgrades. On Monday, the carrier announced three: Two from Netgear and one from Novatel Wireless . The trio of mobile broadband devices not only work on Sprint’s current LTE spectrum, but also on the 800 MHz frequency band once reserved for Nextel devices.
Two weeks ago, Sprint shut down the IDEN network for Nextel devices, which frees up the 800 MHz spectrum. It will use that to supplement its LTE coverage at the higher frequencies so all three devices will benefit from that move once Sprint refarms the spectrum. And because it’s a lower frequency, Sprint customers will benefit because radio waves in this range penetrate walls better than the 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands. The devices should work better indoors as a result.
The Netgear Zing is a mobile hotspot that will retail for $49.99 after a $50 rebate card while the Netgear U341 USB dongle will cost $19.99 after the same rebate offer. The Zing has a 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen, 10 hour battery life and can share its connection over Wi-Fi with up to 10 devices. Customers can also opt for the MiFi 500 LTE from Novatel Wireless priced the same as the Zing.
All prices are with two-year contracts and a service plan, which starts at $34.99 for 3 GB of data per month. Sprint also offers combined 3G/4G data plans of 6 GB for $49,99 or 12 GB for $79.99. The three new devices launch in stores and online on July 19.