Verizon Wireless To Extend EV-DO Networks

Verizon Wireless has announced that on Sept. 27, it will launch EV-DO service in 11 new markets around the USA. EV-DO service is the 3G data only flavor of CDMA wireless technology, on which VZW currently provides service through laptop PCMCIA cards for $80/mo. VZW will add Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Kansas City (Kan/Mo), LA, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Milwaukee, NYC, and Philadelphia. Prior launches covered San Diego, Las Vegas, and D.C. The EV-DO technology provides real world Wide Area data rates of 400-700Kbps depending on the link budget. In Korea with their small cell layouts, they get the higher end of that range, while VZW achieves the lower end – still quite fast. So far, no mobile phone handsets have been sold in the US for EV-DO, and it has been exclusively targeted at the laptop market. We believe now, as we have for quite some time, that wide area wireless technologies pose a significant threat to the paid hotspot market, and to municipal WiFi networks which we believe will have spottier coverage, smaller footprints, billing and roaming complications, and interference issues. Where once the discussion was “will WiFi kill 3G?”, perhaps the discussion should be “will 3G kill public WiFi?” Once we get off of this ridiculous $80 price point, Wide Area technologies will dominate.

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