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Verizon Revs It Up

SIN CITY -- CTIA Wireless 2006 -- Verizon Wireless says it plans to deploy faster 3G cellular technology -- with the unwieldy moniker of "CDMA EV-DO Rev A" -- as soon as the 3-Mbit/s kit is available from suppliers.

“As soon as it is available we’ll start putting it in,” says Richard Lynch, executive vice president and CTO of Verizon Wireless. “Rev A gives us a huge advantage, possibly a year or so over our competitors… I believe it's our fastest route to VOIP" (on cellular).

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. Current EV-DO networks support average data rates of 300 to 500 kbit/s with bursts up to 2 Mbit/s.

Following the rollout of its initial EV-DO products in 2004, the carrier is seeing enterprise users' need for speed helping to drive demand for the faster CDMA specification. (See Broadband USA.) Lowell McAdam, Verizon executive VP and chief operating officer, says that data sales are now helping to push its traditional voice packages to businesses.

“Often we sell them the data service and the voice follows," says McAdam.

Verizon isn't the only U.S. carrier with its eyes on the data prize. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) says it plans to roll out Rev A starting in the first quarter of 2007, while Cingular Wireless is plotting High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) updates to its network by the end of this year. (See Users See Mobility Boost in Faster 3G.) Infrastructure suppliers appear to be just gearing up to offer CDMA Rev A equipment to carriers in the U.S. Airvana Inc. , for example, is demonstrating technology based on the new spec here at the show, but its not yet clear when this will go on sale to carriers, and the firm didn't immediately reply to calls about the technology.

Verizon is also still busy continuing its rollout of plain ol' EV-DO technology across the U.S. CEO Denny Strigl says its cellular broadband network will cover two thirds of the U.S by the end of this year. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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