Overland Park, Kan. — Sprint and Novatel Wireless today reported commercial availability of what they claim is the country's first EV-DO Revision A-capable device — the Novatel Wireless S720 Sprint Mobile Broadband Card.
The card will allow laptops and a soon-to-be-released Linksys Wireless router to wirelessly access audio, video and data at DSL-like speeds, said the company.
While the EV-DO Revision A network will not be deployed until the fourth quarter, the new Novatel broadband card, is backward-compatible with Sprint’s current Sprint Power Vision Network operating on Rev. 0, EV-DO. Sprint claims the current Power Vision Network, which serves more than 153 million people, is the nation's largest wireless broadband network.
The new Merlin S720 card will support the faster Revision A average download and upload speeds (450-850 kbps and 300-400 kbps, respectively) when the Sprint upgrade begins later this year. Sprint expects to reach more than 40 million users with Rev. A EV-DO by the year end. Including EV-DO Rev. 0, and Rev. A, Sprint plans to reach more than 200 million people with mobile broadband data services in 220 major metropolitan areas by the end of 2006.
The Merlin S720 will initially be sold through Sprint indirect and business sales channels and online at www.sprint.com for a suggested retail price of $249.99. With a two-year subscriber agreement, the price can fall to $99.99. Service plans for the card range from $39.99 per month for 40MB to $79.99 per month for unlimited data usage. Customers signing a two-year subscriber agreement may receive unlimited data usage for $59.99 per month (no separate voice plan required). Sprint plans to make a variety of compatible devices in varying form factors available later this year.