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Sprint MiFi Hotspot Offers Personal 3G

The portable device uses Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A mobile data network to connect up to five devices.
MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot
(click image for larger view)
MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot

Sprint will offer a portable 3G device that can create a personal Wi-Fi cloud in June.

The MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot utilizes Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A mobile data network to create a Wi-Fi zone for up to five devices to connect to the Internet. The MiFi includes WPA2-PSK, WEP, and SPI Firewall for security, and users can connect devices like cells phones, laptops, portable music players, and other gadgets capable of a wireless Internet connection.

At 3.5 by 2.3 by 0.3 inches, the MiFi is slim and highly portable. The device is made by Novatel Wireless, and it said its battery can get up to four hours of usage, and up to 40 hours of standby time on a standby charge.

The announcement comes about a week after Verizon Wireless announced its own portable hotspot device that's also made by Novatel. Both carriers offer the MiFi hotspot for $99 after a mail-in rebate, but the service charges differ.

Sprint offers a $59.99 monthly plan for up to 5 GB of data, or Simply Everything users can pay $149.99 a month for unlimited text, calls, and mobile Internet for a smartphone, as well as up to 5 GB of data for the MiFi. Verizon has a $40 monthly plan that includes 250 MB of data, a $60 plan with 5 GB of data, and a 24-hour day pass for $15.

The move is another signal that carriers are looking toward untraditional mobile data services for additional revenue streams. Sprint already provides the unbranded data services for's Kindle, and it's looking to provide the data connection for numerous devices as it rolls out a WiMax network with Clearwire.

Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).