Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
Sprint Nextel has announced its 3G network: Music for $2.50 per download (to the phone and to the desktop as separate downloads), video, location-based services, and data. They’re in 75 markets initially that they say covers 130 million people by mid-November. They also claim 222 airports in the U.S. with 435 by the end of the year. The service will cost $60 per month for unlimited data via a PC Card in parity with Verizon Wireless’s pricing: two-year commitment and voice account required for that price.
The folks at TechDirt note, however, that a “tethered” option as it’s called—using a phone as your data network adapter—adds just $25 per month for unlimited Sprint Nextel EVDO service. The phone plans cost as little as $15 per month with some services included, so a $40 per month unlimited EVDO subscription isn’t hard to obtain, Carlo Longino writes.
Verizon Wireless confirmed for me a few weeks ago that they offer no tethered plans: it’s either a PC Card or a non-data phone/device subscription. Sprint Nextel may have just changed that policy.
Monday morning, Sprint Nextel should announce national availability of EVDO: The company has been quietly turning on its network in 127 cities’ airports and business districts, but it’s unclear how many cities will have metropolitan coverage at the launch.
Where Verizon Wireless has emphasized its V CAST video service—which I find amusing but not compelling—Sprint Nextel seems to be stressing dual-use music downloads. For $2.50 a song, the company will push a song to your phone over the EVDO network and also allow you to download it separately to a computer. The convenience of getting a song immediately might outweigh the $1.51 premium for buying the song through Apple’s iTunes Music Store or other methods.
Verizon, by the way, is now at 61 metropolitan areas with its EVDO service.
Competitors filed papers stating that Qualcomm is engaged in exclusionary practices and high patent prices: The company owns patents that cover both its CDMA2000 standard for 1xRTT and EVDO now being deployed widely in the U.S., and for W-CDMA, which includes UMTS and HSDPA standards that are rolling out worldwide, but faster in Europe and Asia than elsewhere.
Broadcom, LM Ericsson Telephone, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic Mobile, and Texas Instruments claim that the prices for patents for W-CDMA are the same as for CDMA2000 despite what they characterize as Qualcomm’s smaller contribution of technology to W-CDMA. Broadcom has a similar suit in New Jersey against Qualcomm.
Qualcomm responded that the charges are meritless and factually inaccurate.
The Seattle Times points out that the emperor has no clothes: Cingular can claim the first HSDPA network deployment, but Tricia Duryea explains that the company won’t have phones and PC Cards that provide service at rates faster than basic UMTS until late this year.
Can I just express related irritation at the term UMTS here, in passing? UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) is a 3G framework standardized by a variety of regional groups. There’s no speed attached to the UMTS definition at the UMTS Forum. HSDPA is described as a UMTS enhancement, but it’s still considered part of UMTS. Thus, when you talk about UMTS, you’re talking about a family of standards with extensions, or you’re talking about a specific set of technology with particular bandwidth. Very confusing to the average mortal.
Ericsson scoops its customer, announcing upgraded HSDPA service in Dallas/Ft. Worth: The company provides the high-speed download packet access equipment that Cingular will use to take about 15 metro areas to this cell data standard that’s competitive or possibly faster than Verizon and Sprint’s EVDO. While HSDPA may be live, Cingular isn’t selling it yet, and I’m not sure that anyone outside the company has a PC Card that will use the faster standard, either.
Somebody left the door open over at Cingular, showing UMTS deployment: A customer-service portal has been left open, discovered by the folks at HowardForums, showing Cingular’s plans to announce UMTS service Nov. 1, 2005. UMTS is a catchall term for 3G cellular data, and the HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) flavor that’s faster than the first-generation plain UMTS and CDMA-based EVDO is considered UMTS.
The open site (so far) shows 18 markets that will launch Nov. 1. The maps for these markets show the Nov. 1 launch plans and also the area planned for expansion by 2007. In the Seattle-Tacoma market, a pretty enormous area is covered by the first phase; the state capitol and surrounding areas are slated for phase 2. (I haven’t posted the maps as it’s likely there will be a take-down request from Cingular. The HowardForums pages have the maps, for now.) [link via Engadget]
Our fine colleague Nancy Gohring got ahold of this story and Cingular commented on the Web site: no comment! But they said they’re on track to deploy in 15 to 20 markets this year. Which sounds an awful lot like a comment. Nancy’s analysis shows that some markets may get plain old UMTS (200 to 300 Kbps) and others HSDPA (400 to 700 Kbps).