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Sprint's Tri-Fi Hotspot will do LTE, WiMax, 3G on May 18

We got our first look at this three-way network hot spot at CES, but now Sprint's ready to launch.

Sprint's Tri-Fi hotspot

NEW ORLEANS--Sprint has gone to great length to explain to its investors and the press how it's consolidating its various network technologies into one. Its latest 4G hot spot is a perfect example of the concept in practice.

The 4G LTE Tri-Fi Hotspot, made by Sierra Wireless, will support three of Sprint's data networks: 4G LTE, 4G WiMax, and 3G.

I got my first glimpse of the Tri-Fi Hotspot a few months back at CES, and despite all the jokes I cracked about a data three-way, it isn't a very sexy device if you're not looking head-on.

In fact, it looks like an anvil from the side. However, as with previous versions of Sierra's hot spots for Sprint, there's a microSD slot that enables file sharing, and its use as a digital media server. It also has a 3600mAh battery.

Tri-Network Hotspot
It doesn't look like much, but this baby's got smooth moves. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The hot spot will cost $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service agreement. Monthly data plans start at $34.99 for 3GB, and ratchet up to $49.99 for 6GB, and $79.99 for 12GB.

Catch all the latest news from CTIA 2012.