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« Sprint PCS Adds EV-DO | Main | Will Verizon Cut-Off Gateway Makers? »

July 8, 2005

Testing EVDO

By Glenn Fleishman

Verizon Wireless has loaned me a card to test, and I like it: For some reason, many of my readers think that I’m opposed to 3G cellular and that I think it won’t work. Not at all! 3G is terrific, but cell operators in the US face two problems. First, the technology that’s being widely deployed, EVDO, is highly asymmetric, meaning that 3G is really about pulling stuff down to your phone or computer rather than pushing (photos, spreadsheets, etc.).

The upstream side is about 50 to 100 Kbps; downstream 200 to 400 Kbps with peaks to 1 Mbps. The other problem? Spectrum scarcity. You need more spectrum to be successful with 3G because if a lot of people want it, the existing carriers will be hard pressed to find enough space to support it.

In my first day of testing, I’m overjoyed. The software installed on my eMachines laptop with built-in Wi-Fi (Broadcom mini-PCI) without a hitch, and asked me if I wanted it to manage Wi-Fi, too. I did, and it’s working perfectly. I’ve had much worse luck with this laptop in managing cards and other drivers, so this was a nice surprise.

Second nice surprise is that in my concrete bunker, a temporary office literally across a road from a cement companies truck-cleaning yard, I’m getting very high signal strength and performance.

Third nice surprise is that I used Windows XP’s networking features to share the Verizon EVDO to my local Ethernet, and my desktop Mac is nicely using the same connection as my laptop PC.

Would I pay $80 per month for it? We’ll see how that price evolves with Sprint PCS entering the market at a similar price ($40 to $90 for metered with $90 as the cap, $80 per month unlimited).

Posted by Glennf at July 8, 2005 2:12 PM

Categories: EVDO

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It's hard to picture 3G mobile data services gaining mainstream adoption until (a) small consumer-friendly mobile devices can deliver an Internet experience that is a lot more like the one we enjoy from desktop & laptop PCs, rather than the absurdly limited yet complex experience on today's smartphones and pocket-computers; and (b) flat rate 3G data is priced closer to today's flat-rate DSL pricing -- closer to $20/month, on top of the voice plan, instead of $80/month.

Can 3G reach those price points? As you say, we'l see how the price evolves. If it evolves too slowly, it could open the door to mobile WiMax alternatives in a couple years. (Craig McCaw seems to see that coming, with ClearWire.)

Posted by: Matt [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 11, 2005 9:53 AM

Does anyone know of any decent VoIP Service Providers (charging unlimited flat-rate per month) that allows subscribers to use VoIP over 3G cellular data networks (Verizon, Sprint EVDO)?
[Skype does provide service but is not flat-rate for Skype-Out calls over PSTN].

Posted by: Larry Podell at July 14, 2005 1:06 PM