Sprint unveiled plans to meet customers' demands for faster wireless data speeds and expand the possibilities of anywhere, anytime wireless access to information and entertainment by deploying EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) technology across its PCS network.
With average user speeds of 300-500 kilobits per second and peak rates of up to 2.4 Megabits per second for downloads, EV-DO will accelerate mobile-device data speeds up to 10 times faster than on today's network. In addition to improved speeds, customers will experience superior application and service performance on EV-DO-capable handsets and laptops equipped with EV-DO-enabled Sprint PCS Connection Cards(tm).
Business customers seeking integrated voice and data solutions will reap the benefits of more powerful applications across Sprint's integrated wireless and wireline networks -- a distinctive Sprint advantage. The opportunity for higher-speed data connectivity improves enterprise communications, particularly for a company's mobile workers who require phone or laptop access to corporate applications such as email and intranets.
Sprint expects to design and deploy EV-DO with initial service available in select markets in the second half of 2004 and launch in the majority of top metropolitan markets in the United States in 2005.
Markets included in the initial launch, pricing plans and upcoming high-speed applications for consumers and businesses will be announced in the months to come.
Sprint's migration to EV-DO will be relatively simple, requiring no "forklift upgrades" to the company's nationwide wireless network. Because of Sprint's network design, Sprint can upgrade cell sites -- simply adding a new channel card and an additional RF carrier -- without the need to replace the existing infrastructure. The inherent high-level security of CDMA will continue with the advancement to EV-DO.
Existing Sprint PCS Connection Cards and handsets will continue to work at current speeds within EV-DO service areas. To take advantage of the higher speeds that EV-DO offers, customers will be able to purchase EV-DO-enabled handsets and Sprint PCS Connection Cards. This will allow customers using the dual-mode EV-DO device to gain higher speeds in EV-DO-capable areas and seamlessly transition onto Sprint's PCS network, based on 3G 1xRTT technology, when outside an EV-DO area.
Consistent with prior guidance, Sprint plans to invest approximately $1 billion to complete its wireless data upgrades. This will include the deployment of EV-DO as well as the option for a subsequent, more advanced release of CDMA technology that is expected to be available from equipment vendors beginning in 2006. The capital investment is expected to be concentrated in 2005 which represents an acceleration from Sprint's earlier plan to balance spending evenly between 2005 and 2006.