Sprint Launches EV-DO Mobile Service for Laptops
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sprint will start up high-speed mobile data service for notebook PCs this month, saying users of the service could access data at roughly ten times the speed of dial-up networking.
By the end of the year, the company will make the EV-DO service available to about 143 million people and will begin selling handsets for the service.
The company today discussed its plans to become the second major U.S. operator to build a network using EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized), a technology based on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). Sprint says that the technology will typically provide 400 to 700 kilobits per second downstream with bursts up to 2 megabits per second. This is about ten times the rate of the current CDMA2000 1x service, which runs at roughly dial-up speed. The other major U.S. CDMA carrier, Verizon Wireless, began its EV-DO rollout in two markets in 2003.
Users at first will be able to use EV-DO only with Sprint PCS Connection Cards, which fit into the PC Card slot of a notebook PC. They are priced at $250 before contract credits and discounts. In the fourth quarter, the company plans to begin offering handsets for the service, as well as applications for both consumers and business users.
Where It Rolls Out
Sprint's service initially will be focused on business use, with rollouts in airports and central business districts, according to a company statement. This month it will become available in major airports and business areas in 34 markets. In the third quarter, the network will be expanded for broad coverage across 14 metropolitan areas, reaching 92 million potential users. Broad rollouts across a total of 36 metropolitan areas will reach 143 million people by the fourth quarter, and by early next year the service will cover at least 200 urban and suburban markets in about 60 metropolitan areas, the company says.
Sprint will offer a flexible pricing plan for business customers with the PC Card clients, the company announced Thursday. Pricing will start at $40 per month for 40MB of data and will go up to a cap of $90 in months when the customer accesses more data. Businesses can also buy unlimited data for $80 per month. When customers are outside EV-DO markets but still in range of Sprint's national network, they will be able to use the cards on Sprint's slower CDMA2000 1x service.