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Sprint's 4G modem 'free' with 2-year contract, $50 monthly data

Nothing in life is free but Sprint's 3G/4G Plug-in-Connect USB offers subscribers wireless data for $49.99 per month and no up-front hardware cost.


Offering this USB modem stick for free--if you factor out the 2-year contract and $50 mail-in-rebate--Sprint must be really trying to purge the 3G/4G Plug-in-Connect from its inventory. Perhaps it's because the modem likely only connects to the carrier's original WiMax 4G network and not its fancy LTE infrastructure in the works to enable 4G surfing.

If Sprint really will light up a more modern LTE-based 4G network in June, archaic gizmos like WiMax modems running on Clearwire's network could be veritable dinosaurs come summer. Of course, once you're roped up in a plan, you'll be stuck with the device unless you want to cough up the full unsubsidized price of another modem or hot spot.

Of course, Sprint may be cooking up another sweet deal to attract customers to its expanded network. After all, the company has expressed plans to become much more than a simple wireless pipe and handset hardware purveyor. It would like to have a hand in every aspect of your wireless digital lifestyle. The question is, do you want it to?