Optical/IP Networks

Sprint & Verizon Push 3G

The two major CDMA cellular operators in the U.S. -- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Verizon Wireless are pushing ahead with extensions and upgrades to their 3G networks, even as Sprint reported poor growth figures and a 38 percent drop in quarterly earnings for the second quarter.

Sprint, the third largest wireless operator in the U.S., added 708,000 wireless subscribers in the quarter, less than its two larger rivals -- Cingular Wireless and Verizon -- did over the same time period.

The operator says that it will concentrate more on promoting wireless data services as part of the bid to lure more customers to its services. Faster downloads may be part of its new campaign. Sprint Nextel is now saying that it will accelerate the rollout of its higher speed CDMA Rev A network.

Sprint plans to begin its rollout of the upgraded technology in the fourth quarter of this year with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people by year end.

CDMA EV-DO Revision A is a radio network upgrade to existing EV-DO systems based on the earlier Revision O standard. Revision A is expected to crank peak burst rates up to 3.1 Mbit/s on the downlink and up to 1.8 Mbit/s on the uplink, using a 1.25MHz channel. (See Duo Rev Up CDMA.)

Not to be outdone, Verizon Wireless says that it will extend its 3G EV-DO networks in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Current EV-DO networks offer average download speeds of between 300-500 kbit/s.

Verizon says that it broke the $1 billion revenue mark for wireless data for the first time in the second quarter.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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