Sprint Nextel has turned on its EVDO Rev A network, and started offering the service in (where else) San Diego, home of Qualcomm and Padres. (Most Qualcomm related technologies make a debut in San Diego.) The company is planning to turn on 20 additional markets by end of 2006, including our fair city of San Francisco.
Sprint is trying to beat Verizon to the punch by rolling out a faster network. The new EV-DO Rev A technology allows peak burst rates of 3.1 megabits per second (downlink) and 1.8 megabits per second (uplink.) But in reality the network can offer average speeds of between 450-to-800 kilobits per second and average upload speeds of 300 to 400 Kbit/s. Since it is Sprint, we will take that with a pinch of salt.
However, those speeds are enough to do some casual voip-ing? I know Andy is already heading out to the store to buy his card. Sprint has benefitted from its wireless data business quite handsomely, and it is now pushing hard to get more users. A poll on our site showed that nearly 36% of 558 GigaOM readers were likely to buy an EVDO Rev A Service from Sprint.
A reader had pointed out that “EVDO Rev. A allows for the foundation for better ReadyLink PTT and QChat. I am betting that there is Rev. A in some towers near Qualcomm in San Diego right now.” Spot on! QChat is Qualcomm push-to-talk technology Sprint just adopted for future PTT efforts.
Given how accurate our readers have been in making predictions, one can imagine Sprint is onto something. A Broadband USB Modem by Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 should get you connected and cost $250. However, sign a 2-year-deal and you could get the same card for $50.
This could be potentially good news for MacBook owners, who have to connect to a phone to get broadband access for now. Other Rev A cards include the Pantech PX-500, Sierra Wireless Aircard 595 and the Novatel Wireless S720.