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The New A & B of CDMA

Faster variants of the 3G CDMA EV-DO wireless networking technology were among the cellular stars at last week's CTIA Wireless show in Vegas.

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) says that it will start delivering EV-DO Revision B modems, which offer data transfer speeds of up to 14 Mbit/s, by late 2007. Meanwhile, U.S. carriers such as Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Verizon Wireless are expected to start rolling out 3-Mbit/s EV-DO Revision A networks in 2007.

So what does this all mean for IT managers wanting more speed on their email downloads? According to observers and suppliers at CTIA, faster networks should be up and running sometime in 2007. Naturally, however, there's a catch: Users will need new handsets to take advantage of the better download speeds, VOIP capabilities, and improved multimedia functions.

Startup equipment provider Airvana Inc. , which is working with Sprint among other vendors and carriers, says it expects to see commercial deployments of Rev A begin late in 2006.

The vendor tells Unstrung that Rev A is a linecard update to a carrier's existing EV-DO networks. This likely means that operators will be able to roll out faster services in metropolitan areas in 2007.

Handset availablity, though, could be the bottleneck to deploying these superfast wireless nets. Standard EV-DO handsets will work with the faster networks, but they won't be any faster. Rev A laptop cards are starting to appear on the horizon, but Unstrung has seen little evidence of upgraded handsets yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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