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Verizon Wireless Launches EV-DO

It’s not secret that Verizon Wireless has been testing their EV-DO offering in San Diego and Washington DC – and apparently those tests have gone well enough. They’re now announcing the official launch of their EV-DO offering called BroadbandAccess in those two places (though, this is pushed back a bit from earlier reports saying they would launch this summer). You need a special PC card, of course, and the $80 flat-rate service from Verizon Wireless. Sounds exactly like Metricom’s Ricochet circa 1999-2000. The service is about the same, the pricing is exactly the same. One good thing is that they are honest enough to not just blurt out “speeds up to 2 Mbps!”, but rather admit that users should get 300-500 kbps on a regular basis. They are (just like Metricom) focusing on the business users first, though I imagine they’ll eventually get around to offering cheaper plans for others. Meanwhile, Monet is quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of them launching their very own EV-DO offering (at a flat rate of $40/month) in some smaller cities in the midwest. Over time, it seems likely that there will be pricing pressure placed on Verizon Wireless and others to offer the service at more reasonable rates. It might come from other high speed cellular systems, or it might come from much cheaper (or free) widespread WiFi. The other big question is how good is the service? Is it going to drop in and out like many cellular voice services? Will it have trouble in buildings or will it have trouble if too many people log on at once? If the service gets a reputation for not working well, that could do even more damage.

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