Sprint Takes a Bite Out of Apple: Offers 4G iPhone

by Matt Klassen on March 24, 2010

Do you want a 4G iPhone? Of course you do, and Sprint would like you to think that you can get one. In a recent report by Engadget, it seems that the future of lightning fast 4G mobile networks is here, but only if you don’t look too closely at it and don’t ask any technological sorts of questions.

In a new commercial (click here to view) Sprint joins fellow wireless rival Verizon in taking shots at Apple and their dependence on AT&T’s troubled network. The commercial sees two friends relaxing casually on a bench, reservedly talking about the positive aspects of the iPhone when all-of-the-sudden one of the friends produces the new Sprint Overdrive and BAM! His friend is enjoying blazing fast 4G network speeds right on his iPhone. Not quite what you were thinking when you heard the words “4G iPhone,” but it’ll have to do for now.

Clearly capitalizing on AT&T’s well documented network instability issues, Sprint has jumped into that market gap and promised all mobile customers the ability to turn any phone, even the AT&T exclusive iPhone, into a 4G capable device through the use of their new Overdrive device. Simply stated, the Overdrive is a mobile WiFi hotspot creator that allows nearby devices to access Sprint’s WiMax (or 4G) network, turning any WiFi enabled phone, in theory, into a 4G capable phone.

Sounds simple, right? But, of course, with all technologies of this sort there is always some significant downside. The first issue is that you have to be one of the lucky few that can access Sprint’s WiMax network, and if you find yourself outside of a 4G zone, well then this little piece of technology just becomes yet another regular ol’ 3G hotspot…or better yet, just another paperweight that you have to carry around in your pocket.

The second issue is Sprint’s WiMax network itself, which it has been boldly proclaiming to be the first 4G network available in America. There are those who claim, based on various technicalities, that calling WiMax the next generation in wireless connectivity is not altogether accurate, as some network tests have shown that the WiMax provides significantly less than the 10x faster than 3G data transfer speeds that they promise.

Finally, the key issue for me is that the Overdrive is yet another device that users have to carry around if they want to access Sprint’s WiMax network. While some analysts give the Overdrive positive reviews, I find that those reviews stem directly from the fact that they got the device for free, and since I didn’t, I certainly remain skeptical.

While it is clear that Sprint is desperate to take whatever piece of the iPhone market they can get their hands on, the Overdrive is probably as close as the iPhone will ever get to Sprint’s wireless network.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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