Many, if not most of us, don't have access today to wireless networks. But phone companies are already busy testing a new high-speed technology named EvDO (Evolution Data Only), according to the Washington Post.
EvDO provides wireless data connections that are 10 times as fast as a regular modem. Proponents say EvDO offers huge advantages over WiFi, another wireless data technology that is popping up around the country in hotel lobbies and coffee shops, and that it may even be the long sought path around local telephone and cable companies' lock on the high-speed Internet market in most residential areas.
EvDO would require wireless companies to spend billions of dollars to buy additional spectrum and update every cell tower in their networks with new software. But the industry is still smarting from the failure of other once promising wireless technologies: In Europe, "3G" (third generation) technologies were supposed to transform the economy, turning cell phones into mini-entertainment centers, but reality failed to live up to the hype.
I'm not sure that telecommunication companies have the cash to invest in EvDO. But Verizon Wireless is currently testing Lucent and Nortel technologies while other companies already deployed it.
Despite the expense and concerns about market demand for EvDO, it is already gaining a toehold in other countries and even in some small U.S. cities. It has been widely rolled out in South Korea, and Monet Mobile Networks Inc., a company based in Kirkland, Wash., launched EvDO networks last October in seven midwestern markets, including Sioux City, Iowa, and Grand Forks, N.D.
Monet launched in October and so far has about 1,000 customers, according to the company. Most of its subscribers are business customers that use the high-speed connection to download inventory lists and spreadsheets that would bog down when moving on a slower connection, although, like a cable broadband network, EvDO's access speeds do slow as more people sign on.
The company may have some successes, but CEO George M. Tronsrue III is cautious.
Tronsrue has big-name investors, including billionaire George Soros and Intel, and he is excited about the EvDO technology. But he has also learned that there are no sure things in technology. "Right now our main target is that at the end of 2003, we are still operating."
I guess I'll have to wait for some time to use EvDO in France.
Source: Christopher Stern, The Washington Post, January 23, 2003
11:29:11 AM Permalink