For those of you who are just unimpressed with sub-4G speeds on your iPhones (or those who do not wish to upgrade to a new device), consider the Sierra Wireless Overdrive 4G WiFi hotspot by Sprint. Though coverage is not the best at the moment, Sprint continues to make inroads in expanding its network and the device is an interesting alternative to those who are frustrated with AT&T’s congested network.
Basically, this is a mobile router that taps into Sprint’s network and creates a local Wi-Fi hotspot for your device, thereby surpassing the technical limitations of the 3G chipset (or lack there of if you happen to have an older iPhone). The tradeoff is that you would still need an AT&T plan for phone features as the Wi-Fi merely supplements the data side. It’s also pricey, weighing in at $99.99 after $250 in discounts and rebates. The monthly plan at $59.99 per month includes unlimited 4G usage (with an ever increasing network) and 3G coverage at 5GB per month.
It’s also interesting to note that Sprint’s iteration of 4G is based on WiMax, which translates to a peak download speed of 10 megabits per second and an average speed of 3-6 megabits per second.
The great news is that this technology is also compatible with the iPad. Though it’s still a $30 premium over AT&T’s unlimited data plan (theirs at $29.99 a month), the speed difference may be of enough value to users. The Overdrive Mobile Hotspot also supports up to five simultaneous users, providing additional benefit and potential cost savings to users with multiple devices.
Look below for a commercial of Sprint advertising this as a great way to get 4G on the iPhone. Had a chance to check it out? Would you prefer Sprint over AT&T? Do you think these companies charge too much for subpar service?