Supercomm: Sprint to upgrade to EV-DO

Sprint announced at Supercomm 2004 that it is deploying enhanced wireless data technology throughout its network this year.

The carrier says it plans to spend $1 billion to upgrade its network with EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) technology. The upgrade typically will increase wireless data transmission speeds 300K bit/sec to 500K bit/sec. The technology maxes out at 2.4M bit/sec.

The $1 billion will include spending on an enhanced version of CDMA, which Sprint says it will roll out in 2006. The carrier says it’s considering two technologies to upgrade its CDMA network, and has not made a final decision.

Although Sprint says it will introduce EV-DO services in select markets later this year, it would not say where, exactly when or how much the service will cost. The carrier says its current vendors - Lucent, Nortel, Motorola and Samsung - will supply its EV-DO gear.

In March, Verizon Wireless announced that it will roll out EV-DO services to one-third of the U.S. this year. Verizon’s service, called BroadbandAccess, is currently available in San Diego and Washington, D.C., where it costs about $80 per month.

When asked if Sprint plans to team up with Verizon on a roaming agreement for EV-DO services, the carrier says it would provide benefits to users, but it has not reached such an agreement at this point.

Sprint says when it initially rolls out its EV-DO service it will only offer users wireless cards for their PCs, with handheld devices supporting the technology coming out in 2005.

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