Alltel upgrades 3G wireless network

EV-DO Rev. A services to launch in 18 markets

Alltel plans to deploy Evolution Data Optimized Revision A to 18 markets by the year-end, thus bringing customers maximum download speeds of 3.1Mbps.

Alltel plans to deploy Evolution Data Optimized Revision A to 18 markets by year-end, thus bringing customers maximum download speeds of 3.1Mbps.

EV-DO Rev. A is a variation of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology that is used by companies such as Sprint and Verizon to deliver 3G wireless broadband services. Alltel says that its new EV-DO Rev. A services will give customers average download speeds of between 600K and 1.4Mbps, and average upload speeds between 500K and 800Kbps. Among the 18 markets that will have access to the upgrade are Charlotte, N.C.; New Orleans; Tampa, Fla.; and Phoenix.

Alltel says customers will need EV-DO Rev. A-capable devices to access the network. For instance, Alltel says that customers can purchase data cards such as the Huawei EC228 USB or the UTStarcom UM 150 in order to hook their personal computers onto the network. Customers that have HTC Touch smartphones, meanwhile, can download EV-DO Rev. A software for free from HTC's Web site. Pricing for the EV-DO Rev. A wireless Internet service will start at $60, and will not require that users subscribe to an Alltel voice plan.

While Alltel uses CDMA-based technology for its 3G wireless services, the company has said  that it plans to switch over to the GSM-based Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology when it eventually deploys its 4G network.  Alltel has a network footprint in 34 states, with most of its coverage concentrated in Southeastern, Midwestern and Southwestern states. The company is expected to be officially purchased by Verizon Wireless for $28.1 billion within the next two years, pending federal regulatory approval. (View slideshow of 2008's hottest tech M&A deals.)

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