Sprint Goes For EV-DO
By Carlo Longino, Tue Jun 22 14:45:00 GMT 2004

After widespread assumption they'd skip right to EV-DV, US carrier Sprint says it will launch a nationwide EV-DO network over the next two years.

It had been widely rumored that Sprint was going to go straight from its current CDMA 1xRTT network right to EV-DV, with the company even saying recently it was looking at Flarion's Flash-OFDM technology, which Nextel has launched in one market.

But Sprint said today it would spend $1 billion over the next 18 months to upgrade its network to EV-DO, bringing it on par with rival Verizon, which will also offer the high-speed service nationwide by the end of 2005. Equipment vendors Nortel and Lucent are expected to get the bulk of Sprint's orders, upgrading their existing equipment in the network.

Sprint had one of the country's first nationwide 2.5G data networks, and was the first to offer flat-rate, unlimited tariffs: its phone users can get unlimited data for just $10 per month. It should provide some solid competition for Verizon, particularly if it undercuts its rival's prices -- which shouldn't be too difficult, given Verizon charges $80 per month.

Perhaps in response, Cingular said today it plans to move forward its plans to roll out its WCDMA 3G network, hoping to launch in 2005. Cingular's COO built in some wiggle room, curiously saying that the carrier could was still waiting for vendors to deliver suitable equipment -- something that doesn't seem to have held back Europe's WCDMA carriers. The Reuters story gets a bit muddled, saying Cingular will implement HSDPA to boost speeds on its network, but having an operational HSDPA network, or even beginning to build one, in 2005, seems a bit of a stretch.