Sprint has introduced their first 4G cellular laptop modem capable of using their new high-speed WiMAX service, which currently runs only in Baltimore but is slated to reach other metropolitan markets beginning next year.With only limited coverage areas for 4G service, though, the card is capable of falling back to 3G networks as well.

It promises speeds upwards of 1.4Mbps when attached to a 3G network, and can supposedly approach 4Mbps when in range of a tower supporting 4G. The “Sprint U300” will debut before the end of the year as a Windows-only USB peripheral, tiny enough to slide comfortably into any laptop bag, and will support features aside from just Internet access, such as GPS functionality.

Cellular modems for laptops have become increasingly common, but still face two big hurdles that tend to turn people away. Cost is the first, as often even the cheapest limited data plans available from cell companies can cost twice what a standard broadband connection would. Speed is the second, with most people never actually experiencing the supposed maximum speeds available. Hopefully, the introduction of this 4G card will help change that.