Verizon To Unveil Ultra-Fast EvDO Wireless

Verizon is actually getting ready to launch some very limited trials of an EvDO system in Washington DC and San Diego sometime this summer. This is pretty fast, considering that it was only two months ago that the Washington Post first discovered EvDO and declared that it was the greatest thing since WiFi – but also quoted everyone saying it was a long ways off. Of course, the big question is pricing, and Verizon won’t say a word except that their initial target will be “business travelers” – which should signal the death of such a service. Everyone in the wireless business always announces that they’re going to start out by targeting business travelers, which is a code word for “we’re going to charge as much as is humanly possible so that only the most desperate internet junkies will pay for it”. It’s an interesting price discrimination strategy that never seems to work (look at Metricom and all the failed WiFi hotspot plays so far…). When you’re charging that much, people will find cheaper alternatives. If Verizon were smart, they’d take a page from Monet Networks and look at their flat rate EvDO offerings in the midwest. Of course, I haven’t heard anything lately about how well Monet is doing. Update: Also read Alan Reiter’s excellent analysis of the news. As he points out, it’s a promising technology, but it takes a lot more than a promising technology to build a winning offering.

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