Sprint Selling MiFi 2200 Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot for Its 3G ServiceS

Remember how well Sprint 3G did in tests? And how much we like portable hotspots? Put them together with the $100 Novatel MiFi 2200, and you have a pretty nice setup, dubbed "Sprint Mobile Hotspot."

The coolest thing is that you don't need a separate wireless card here. Novatel's MiFi is both a wireless hotspot and broadband modem, just one piece of hardware to lose instead of two. You of course need a plan, $60 for wireless data only. This is similar, but not identical, to Verizon's MiFi 2200 offering.

The catch, if there is one, is that this thing will cost $150 and you will get $50 through a mail-in rebate (my least favorite kind of rebate). And that discount only comes if you re-up your contract with Sprint for another two years. Here's more fine print:

At your home office, on the road or at the beach, Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot connects any WiFi-enabled device to the Sprint Now Network

The Sprint Simply Everything Plan® + Mobile Broadband = $599 savings annually vs. comparable Verizon plan
Access to multiple devices by multiple users, for same pricing plan as other Sprint mobile broadband devices
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – MAY 13, 2009 – Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced plans to bring a WiFi hotspot to customers virtually anywhere and everywhere — and whenever they need it — on any WiFi-enabled device.

Sprint plans to launch the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 intelligent mobile hotspot device for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year service agreement (excluding taxes). The MiFi 2200, available in the first week of June on www.sprint.com, in Sprint retail stores and other select channels, will allow users to connect to the Internet by bridging WiFi-enabled devices like laptops, MP3 players and gaming devices to America's most dependable 3G network* – the EVDO Rev A Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. Sprint will launch the service under the Sprint Mobile Hotspot name, and it will be the first in the U.S. to support MiFi's GPS capabilities, allowing users to take advantage of select location and mapping applications.

"You can hold the MiFi 2200 in the palm of your hand, slip it in your pocket, even place it on a beach towel if you're lying under the sun and wirelessly connect your laptop, MP3 player and gaming device to the Internet all at once," said Steve Elfman, president of network, wholesale and product, Sprint. "Now customers will be able to use one mobile broadband device – the MiFi 2200 – to connect multiple personal devices or multiple users. If I have a WiFi-enabled device, I don't need to find a WiFi hotspot. The MiFi 2200 creates one for me."

Save money and cut the cord
Business and consumer customers may choose from the following service plans for the MiFi 2200:

* $59.99 per month mobile broadband only plan (excluding taxes and surcharges)**

or

* $149.99 per month Simply Everything Plan + Mobile Broadband (phone plus device connectivity — excluding taxes and surcharges)**

Both plans include up to 5 GB per month and 5 cents per megabyte overage for the MiFi 2200.

The Simply Everything Plan + Mobile Broadband, unique in the industry, was introduced this February to give customers the benefits of the Now Network on their phone and laptop for one price. The plan includes unlimited text, picture and video messaging, GPS navigation, email and Web surfing on their phone, plus 5 GB of blazing Internet access on their mobile broadband device – all for just $149.99 per month, a savings of $599 per year vs. comparable Verizon plans. Now, for that same price, customers can use the MiFi 2200 and connect to more devices at once.

Sprint continues to innovate and deliver value
The Sprint Mobile Hotspot service with the MiFi 2200 is part of Sprint's game-changing open approach to rolling out new types of wireless services and delivering the significant value and capabilities of the Now Network to its customers. The MiFi 2200, a portable, secure and truly wireless mobile broadband access device, is the first of its kind to be added to Sprint's portfolio – and one of several innovative mobile broadband devices that Sprint will announce this year. Sprint plans to offer a portfolio of 3G, 4G and dual-mode devices that will take advantage of the Now Network.

How MiFi works
MiFi creates a personal cloud of high-speed Internet connectivity that can be easily shared among up to five users and a variety of WiFi-enabled devices through its connection to America's most dependable 3G network,* the EVDO Rev A Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. For example:

* College student: a college student tucks her MiFi 2200 in her backpack to study with friends at the park and uses it to listen to streaming radio on her MP3 player while she connects to the school's Intranet on her laptop to get details on a class assignment. She takes a break to take pictures of her pals with her Wi-Fi enabled digital camera, and the camera uses the MiFi's signal to upload the photos to Facebook while she emails her completed report to her professor, then uses the device's GPS capability to find a nearby pizza place for lunch.

* Business travelers: Two business travelers share a cab to the airport, then wait for their flight. Sharing the signal of one MiFi 2200 device that is safely tucked away in a briefcase, they download emails and surf the Internet on their notebooks and stream music to their MP3 players.

* Portable retail: Five vendors at a local art fair have kiosks in close proximity. Accessing one MiFi 2200 device's signal, they each run a credit card point-of-sale device over WiFi and have secure backhaul.

Key Features of the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot

* Easily fits in the palm of your hand — dimensions: 3.50"x 2.32" x 0.35" and weight: 2.05 oz.
* Brushed aluminum finish
* Provides mobile broadband Rev A Internet access wirelessly
* Supports up to five WiFi-enabled devices
* Simple to connect with Hands-Free Activation (OMA-DM). No software installation required
* Universal Wi-Fi compatibility
* Advanced security through WPA2-PSK, WEP and SPI Firewall
* MiFi GPS capabilities to take advantage of select location and mapping applications, such as getting driving or walking directions or finding the best restaurant nearby
* Battery provides four hours of user time, 40 hours standby on single charge

The MiFi 2200 is ideal for businesses looking to extend the speed and anywhere convenience of America's most dependable 3G network*. Soon after its retail launch, Sprint Wholesale will also be offering a version of the Novatel MiFi 2200 to wholesale wireless partners.

"Supporting more than one WiFi-enabled device, businesses can enable their employees to cost-effectively share a connection when mobile with other employees, vendors or customers," Elfman noted. "Now business professionals like claims adjusters, mobile professionals, retail employees and field service technicians can easily perform multiple functions using various WiFi devices, all over one connection."

"There are an abundance of consumer devices with integrated WiFi that lose their functionality when WiFi isn't available," said Michael Gartnerberg Gartenberg, vice president of strategy and analysis at Interpret. "The ability to seamlessly add WAN capabilities to this multitude of devices will empower consumers to use their devices the way they want to use them and wherever they want to use them."

The availability of the MiFi 2200 will further deliver on Sprint's promise to offer businesses and consumers a faster and more robust Internet experience in cities across the nation than any other wireless service from a national carrier. Sprint recently made history by launching 4G in 2008 in Baltimore and is the first national carrier to offer wireless access to both 3G and 4G networks on one device – the 3G/4G USB Modem U300. Sprint has new 4G devices planned for 2009 and 2010, including a single-mode 4G data card, embedded laptops and a small-office-home-office broadband modem.

* "Dependable" based on independent, third-party drive tests for 3G data connection success, session reliability and signal strength for the top 50 most populous markets from Jan. '08 to Feb. '09.
** Two year service agreement required. No discounts apply.

MiFi is a trademark of Novatel Wireless, Inc.

ABOUT SPRINT NEXTEL

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 49 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
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