Sprint 3G Rollout Plans Leak Out

Sprint's release of a PC card confirms Web rumors that it will start offering 3G in some markets this summer.
Sprint Thursday starting selling a second PC Card for its forthcoming 3G 1xEV-DO service and provided further hints about its plans to roll out the service.

The company said in a statement that it has started making available a PC Card modem from Novatel for its 3G service. It already is offering a card with similar capabilities from Sierra Wireless. In a statement about the Novatel card, the company also affirmed, in a vague way, its rollout plans for the service.

"Portions of many major metro markets, including airports and business corridors, are expected to have EV-DO service available by early summer this year," Sprint said. It added that it expected to have the service available in 60 metropolitan areas early next near.

The business services section of Sprint's Web site notes that the service will be available for $80 a month for unlimited access. That's the same price that Verizon Wireless is charging for its 1xEV-DO service. However, Verizon Wireless has had a significant lead in rolling out the service, which is already available in about 30 Verizon markets. The service provides typical downstream speeds of between 300 Kbps and 500 Kbps.

Sprint previously said it would start rolling out the 1xEV-DO service this summer. In addition, an allegedly internal memo from Sprint circulating on the Web this week detailed a number of cities that would have the service in the next few months. A Sprint spokesperson didn't return a call to verify whether the memo was accurate.

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