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Time Warner Cable Unleashes Wi-Fi Hot Spot

Time Warner Cable is offering a mobile hot-spot device, dubbed IntelliGo, that lets customers connect up to five Wi-Fi devices simultaneously for Internet access via the Clearwire-operated WiMax network or Sprint Nextel's nationwide 3G network.

The device, manufactured by Sierra Wireless, costs $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year contract. Sprint offers an identical Wi-Fi hot-spot product, Overdrive, also from Sierra Wireless.

Pricing for Time Warner Cable's Road Runner Mobile service -- advertised as providing up to 6 Megabits per second downstream -- varies from region to region, but is generally around $55 per month.

TWC currently offers Road Runner Mobile WiMax service through its investment in Clearwire in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas; Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro, N.C.; Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii; and Kansas City, Mo.

Road Runner Mobile customers also are able to access the Clearwire 4G network in cities outside the Time Warner Cable footprint including: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Clearwire plans to launch WiMax in 2010 in additional cities including New York, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sprint is the majority shareholder of Clearwire, with other equity investors that include TWC, Comcast, Bright House Networks, Google and Intel.

In addition, Road Runner Mobile 4G customers also have access to 3G coverage nationwide through Sprint in areas where 4G is not available.

"IntelliGo allows customers to really leverage the speed of the Time Warner Cable 4G network and the coverage of a national 3G network on all of their Wi-Fi enabled devices anywhere they go," Mike Roudi, Time Warner Cable group vice president of wireless products, said in a statement.

IntelliGo has up to four hours of active battery life and can be charged via a USB cable. The device includes an LCD screen that provides information such as battery life and Internet connection status, built-in GPS capability (via 3G), a MicroSD slot for up to 16 GB memory cards creating shared storage with up to five connected devices and an extended Wi-Fi range of up to 150 feet.