Sprint to offer '3G iPod Touch' accessory on November 14

Sprint said Wednesday that it would begin offering an iPod touch case that would allow users to connect to the carrier's 3G network on November 14. Manufactured by ZTE, the "Peel" would include built in Wi-Fi, which would allow not only the iPod touch to connect but also another wireless device.

The Peel will retail for $79.99 and require a $29.99 per month data plan, which is a month-to-month agreement. 1GB of data would be included. The device is the second announced for the iOS platform: in April, the company touted a 4G "case" for the iPad.

Users would not be able to use their iPod touches as phones though with ZTE's case: there are no native phone or SMS apps provided with the case. That said, with the device thinking it is on a Wi-Fi connection, FaceTime would work while mobile.

"When combined with Sprint's 3G network, ZTE PEEL turns an iPod touch from a portable device limited by the availability of Wi-Fi to a mobility tool free to browse the Web and use applications anytime, anywhere while on Sprint's 3G network," product development chief Fared Adib said in a statement.

Sprint is not the only company attempting to cash in on offering iOS devices internet access: its 4G data subsidiary Clear offers a wireless device solely intended to connect devices using iOS, and Verizon recently announced a package that includes a Wi-Fi iPad bundled with one of its branded MiFi devices.

Indeed, Apple's devices are apparently having the unintended consequence of helping the entire industry. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that he believes the iPad itself has helped sell his company's WiMAX products as consumers look for alternatives to AT&T data service.

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