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October 24, 2006 at 10:59 AM

Seattle will get speedier Sprint network

Sprint has upgraded its cellphone network in San Diego to handle even faster data speeds.

For Seattle, the significance of that announcement today is that by the end of the year, Sprint plans to reach more than 40 million people in 21 markets, including Seattle, with those high speeds. The other cities are Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Mo., Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Milwaukee, Boston, Buffalo, N.Y., Hartford, Conn., Newark, N.J., Providence, R.I., Baltimore, New York City and Philadelphia.

The new network is called EV-DO Revision A, and is an upgrade of its 3G network that’s called EV-DO. The updated version allows for faster uplink speeds, meaning photos, emails and other large files can be sent much faster.

With new data cards and phones, users of the data networks could see faster average upload speeds of 300 to 400 kilobits per second, (compared with 50 to 70 Kbps of current EV-DO networks). Average download speeds should also increase to 450 to 800 Kbps (from 400 to 700 Kbps).

By the third quarter next year, Sprint says it expects to have completely upgraded to the faster EV-DO Revision A.

At the same time, the company says it will be rolling out an even faster data network called WiMax. This network is made exclusively for data, unlike EV-DO which also handles voice calls.

The main difference is that if tons of people start using the voicecentric EV-DO networks for data, the networks will become clogged and slow down or crash. WiMax will have the bandwidth and capabilities to stream lots of TV, music, while also uploading videos, and more.

Check out what people said about WiMax at a big industry event called WiMax World, which was held in Boston two weeks ago.

Comments | More in Wireless & telecom

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