A very large market for 4G happens to be India but the catch is the population is extremely price-sensitive. In order to provide the country with a solution which maximizes the LTE opportunity for carriers, Pinyon Technologies partnered with Sequans Communications to develop the AirWire LTE WiFi dongle, a unique device designed primarily for home/business connectivity.
Unlike most LTE hotspots, this device is clamshell in nature and packs a relatively huge high-gain antenna. The benefit to carriers is that their towers can be more sparsely located or alternatively the device will use less power. As you can see, it isn’t necesarily the sleekest of consumer electronics devices you’ve seen but it is under $50, works with USB as well, supports 802.11 b/g/n and LTE-TDD. A separate battery pack can be attached to make it a mobile device. The Sequans Mont Blanc LTE Platform which the product is based on provides VoLTE support. This is useful as it is difficult if not impossible to find a sub $100 VoLTE device meaning a carrier can allow a subscriber’s 3G phone to utilize the WiFi on the AirWire device to make a tariffed phone call over LTE.
As you might imagine, Pinyon’s background is in antenna design and thanks to its technology carriers can have a much more flexible end-user device to compete with wireline service or act in lieu of wires.
Pictured right to left are Debashis Bagcho President & CEO of Pinyon Technologies and Craig Miller VP Worldwide Marketing Manager at Sequans Communications
If there is a drawback besides the lack of a glitzy design it is that the device has no fallback to 3G or 2G. This isn’t necessarily a problem but part of my job is to point out these sorts of things. Having said that, this is a great price for a high-bandwidth, low-power LTE device which can power offices and homes, enabling carriers worldwide to address new markets and compete effectivley with wireline solutions.