With rumors swirling that the iPhone may soon make its way to rivals T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless from AT&T in the USA, Sprint also wants in on the iOS action and America's third largest carrier isn't shy. To that end, the carrier has seemingly teamed up with equipment maker ZTE to bring a sled for the iPod Touch, giving the non-cellular MP3 PMP player access to its mobile 3G CDMA/EV-DO data network so iPod Touch owners can have ubiquitous web access on the go, like the iPhone which is currently tied to AT&T's mobile 3G network. For voice, iPod Touch owners can probably work in a VoIP solution over 3G.
The sled, which recently made its way over to the FCC for regulatory approval, bears Sprint's logo, ZTE branding, as well as a sticker for a Qualcomm radio. Called the Peel 3G router, the device looks more like a thin sled or skin, much like how the Mophie Juice Pack Air provides a bit of protection as well as added juice in a compact form factor for the iPhone. Instead, the Peel 3G router, as its name implies, will serve as both a hard case and a "router" to provide mobile 3G access. From the pictures, though, it looks like the standard Apple dock connector was not shown, so we'll be curious as to how the iPod Touch will connect, whether it be through the router's build in WiFi, as in a MiFi sled, or if it'd be through a wired means.
In the past, Sprint has not been shy that it wants to join the iOS race. It had marketed its MiFi-like Overdrive for iPhone and iPad owners to have access to its 3G network as well as 4G network and avoid AT&T's congested, slow networks if need be.
If Sprint is successful, the unlimited data plan, if affordable, provided the the Peel 3G router, coupled with aggressive marketing to those who would rather not be tied to a contract--specifically for voice--may appeal to a lot of iPod Touch owners who have thus far resisted the urge to jump on the iPhone.