Jul 15th, 2013


Sprint has announced that its first set of devices with tri-band LTE radios — that is, those with the radios necessary to take advantage of the 800MHz spectrum Sprint cleared up by retiring its legacy push-to-talk network — are going to be available July 19th. Those devices are all wireless hotspots and USB modems, with the NETGEAR Zing wireless hotspot and NETGEAR 341U USB modem, as well as Novatel’s MiFi 500 LTE, all coming in just a few days’ time.

So what does the added 800MHz band get you? That band is quite good at penetrating buildings and underground structures, so Sprint will be using it to deliver just as good of an experience inside buildings as it can if you were out in bright daylight. We’re a bit surprised the first devices to take advantage are already here, though it’s worth noting none of these are smartphones.

We reached out to Sprint to see if we could get a better idea of when the first smartphones with this new tri-band radio would launch, but we were only able to gather “by the end of this year.” That’s better than nothing, though, and we’re glad to see it won’t take long to give users access to the more robust LTE experience Sprint is looking to provide.

As for these devices, the NETGEAR ZING and Novatel MiFi 500 LTE will both be available for $50 following a two-year contract agreement, while the NETGEAR 341U will come in at just $20 for that same commitment. Anyone looking to scoop one up for the time being while we await smartphones with these strengthened radios embedded?