Sprint PCS said today it will soon begin the launch of its EV-DO network, first lighting up airports and business districts of 34 markets later this month, followed by more markets through early 2006. It's data-card only to begin with, and pricing looks to be the same as with their 1x data plans -- meaning it's following the $80 per month rule, dashing hopes that the introduction of EV-DO competition to Verizon would bring prices down. Sprint's low-profile, high-priced launch seems to indicate it's following the usual line of thinking that it doesn't want to overwhelm a new network, but it's hard to to be at least a little disappointed by the coverage and pricing. Perhaps the company will shake things up a bit when it does a consumer launch, planned for the fourth quarter. Sprint's site doesn't make it particularly easy to find coverage information for the new network, the "Data Plans & Coverage" page providing no info, yet another example of the obtuse way operators tend to handle these things. All this does is leave a bigger opening for smarter, more nimble competitors -- like SK Earthlink, which will run on top of Sprint's EV-DO network.
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