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Sprint to push mobile WANs closer to 3G

Jun 28, 20042 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork Security

* Cellular services get faster

Sprint last week confirmed plans to launch high-speed mobile cellular services averaging 300K to 500K bit/sec in select markets by year-end. The carrier said it would offer services in a majority of top metropolitan markets in 2005.

The wireless community dubs the technology behind the forthcoming Sprint services “1xEV-DO.”  Verizon Wireless offers 1xEV-DO-based services in a couple of markets today.

This technology is a fairly advanced step along the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) path toward full 3G mobile WAN networking.

The Sprint announcement comes at a time when myriad wireless technologies are vying for a chunk of customer mindshare. What services and technologies should be deployed for what applications?

The vendor and service provider communities must tread very carefully in their positioning during the next couple of years. Their marketing departments must articulate very specifically which offerings are best positioned to solve particular applications to avoid customer confusion and stalling technology acceptance.

To assist on this score, the next newsletter will look under the hood a bit at the mélange of wireless networks out there and who is using which kinds for what applications and why.

Sprint didn’t announce pricing for its forthcoming 1xEV-DO service; however, for context, pricing for similar services available today runs about $80 per month. Generally, roaming charges of about $10 per megabyte apply. 

The “comparable” services I’m talking about are Verizon Wireless’ 1xEV-DO services, currently available in the greater Washington, D.C., area and San Diego; and AT&T’s 100K to 130K bit/sec EDGE service.

For its part, Verizon has committed to spending another $1 billion on this network service, brandnamed BroadbandAccess, through 2005 on top of its regular $4 billion annual network capital spending.

AT&T Wireless, acquired earlier this year by Cingular Wireless, has said it plans to deploy Universal Mobile Telephone System (UMTS) services – capable of supporting 2M bit/sec speeds to stationary or near-stationary WAN users and 384K bit/sec speeds when users are traveling under 120 miles per hour – in four markets by year-end.