Friday, August 18, 2006

Franklin CDU-550 USB Modems - Trouble in Paradise!

A lot of people (including the EVDOguy!) have been waiting a loooong time for a USB solution for EVDO, and when Sprint announced that they had certified the Franklin device for use on their network it solved a lot of problems for a lot of non-PC-card-compatible computer users! People lined up to preorder the modems and eagerly awaited their arrival. Booster-Antenna received the USB modems today (left, in all their much-anticipated glory!) and was prepared to ship them to a score of customers...

Sprint, however, had different plans.

With no advance warning and essentially no reason given, Sprint abruptly made the decision to ban the sale of the Franklin USB devices to individuals - they will be selling them EXCLUSIVELY to corporate clients (people that place the order with their business' Federal Tax ID as opposed to their personal social security # and birthdate).

NO reason was given for this sudden change in policy. Sprint agreed to honor the preorders from individuals, but refused to give them the $150 credit that was originally promised (and will still be given to corporate clients)! After the preorders are shipped, NO additional USB modems will be sold to individual customers.

As of right now, it looks like the only option for individuals wishing to purchase the Franklin USB modem (except for the pre-orders - those orders will go through) is to order it under a Federal Tax ID as a business (which, of course, only helps a paltry few customers that happen own a business).

There may be ways to work around this in the future, and its also possible that Sprint will be releasing their own USB modem eventually. For the immediate future, though, customers without PC card slots will have to either switch to Verizon to use the ExpressCard or use an EVDO router to access the EVDO network.

Read our complete CDU-550 Franklin EVDO USB Review.