Sprint today announced that it has upgraded the Sprint Power Vision Network(SM), the nation's largest wireless broadband network covering more than 164 million people, with the faster EV-DO Revision A technology in the San Diego market Ã¢â‚¬â€œ making it the first market in the country to have the technology commercially available.
San Diego is the first of 21 markets where Sprint will roll out EV-DO Revision A this year with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people. Sprint Power Vision users in these markets should experience significantly faster average upload speeds of 300-400 kbps (compared with 50-70 kbps of current EV-DO networks). Average download speeds should also increase to 450Ã¢â‚¬â€œ800 kbps from 400-700 kbps. By 3Q 2007, Sprint's Power Vision network is expected to be completely upgraded to the faster EV-DO Revision A.
The upgrade to EV-DO Revision A enables customers to use the upgraded network to utilize applications such as IP video telephony, high-performance push-to-talk (walkie-talkie service), multi-user video conferencing, real-time gaming and video streaming of both content and live web cams simultaneously as they become available.
Sprint is also expanding its Revision A-capable device portfolio. In early November, Sprint will make its first mobile broadband USB modem available Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Sprint Mobile Broadband USB Modem by Novatel Wireless Ovation U720. This device plugs into the USB port of any compatible laptop and will allow customers to connect to the Sprint Power Vision Network and wirelessly access audio, video and data applications. The Novatel Wireless sells for a suggested retail price of $249.99 or is available for as low as $49.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement and mail-in-rebate.
The Novatel Wireless U720 joins three previously announced EV-DO Revision A-compatible connection cards: the Pantech PX-500, Sierra Wireless AircardÃ‚Â®595 and the Novatel Wireless S720. Designed for operation with compatible laptops with Type II PCMCIA slots and the Linksys Wireless G-Router for Mobile Broadband. All of these devices will also work on the Sprint Power Vision Network where the EV-DO Revision A upgrade is not yet available. Service plans for all cards currently range from $39.99 per month for 40 MB to $79.99 per month for unlimited data usage. Customers signing a two-year Sprint subscriber agreement may also be eligible to receive unlimited data usage for $59.99 per month (no separate voice plan required).
With lackluster 3rd quarter numbers and the rumor of a buyout target, this is certainly good news and will give a good shot in the arm for Sprint and its business data customers. I used to be a Sprint customer when it first provided service in the US. They were among the first who eliminated roaming charges in the states. But I quickly switched provider due to poor coverage and non-existing roaming when I traveled to Canada. I am glad they are picking up steam and take the lead in 3G technology. Although existing Smartphone users may not be able to take full advantage of the Revision A bandwidth upgrade, but I expect future mobile devices and applications to make full use of the extra upload bandwidth in no time, such as mobile video telephony. ;-)