Though the benefit of the 4G cellular data connection is clear, it's much faster, mobile users might still want to opt for a 3G service because 4G coverage is still limited.
There's now, however, a solution that takes care of this dilemma: the new Sprint 3G/4G USB 250U mobile broadband modem.
Sprint and Sierra Wireless announced the device Tuesday, calling it the first on the market to offer the much higher data speeds where 4G coverage is available, and 3G speeds where it is not.
The 3G/4G dongle comes in a rather compact design with 180-degree rotating USB connector, measuring just 0.6 inch by 1.9 inches; it weighs merely 2 ounces. It supports CDMA dual-band 800/1,900Mhz, GPS 1.5Ghz L-Band, and WiMAX2.5Ghz. The modem comes with two separate LED lights to indicate what network (3G or 4G) it is connected to.
According to Sprint, the 3G/4G USB 250U adapter is available now only for business customers, but it will be available to everyone by mid-July. The device is free (after rebate) with a two-year contract. It comes with only one data plan that costs $60/month for unlimited data on the 4G network, and 5GB of data on Sprint's 3G network.
The new cellular-data dongle works with Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP, and Mac OS 10.5 or later.
Sprint says that when used with its 4G network, the dongle provides download speeds of up to 10Mbps and upload speeds of between 3 and 6Mbps. On a 3G network, the peak download speed is 3.1Mbps and 1.8Mbps for upload speeds.