Sprint and Novatel Wireless recently announced the commercial availability of what they bill as the first EV-DO Revision A-capable device to be introduced in the U.S.
Designed for operation with compatible laptops, as well as the soon-to-be-available Linksys Wireless G-Router for Mobile Broadband, the Novatel Wireless Merlin S720 will allow customers to connect to the Sprint Power Vision Network and remotely access audio, video, and data applications at DSL-like speeds. The card operates on the current Sprint Power Vision Network and will support faster average download and upload speeds (450 to 850 kbits/s and 300 to 400 kbits/s, respectively) of Sprint's upgraded network when it becomes available.
Sprint plans to begin its rollout of EV-DO Revision A during the fourth quarter of 2006, with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people by year end. Ultimately, Sprint plans to reach more than 200 million people in the U.S. 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. Service plans for the card currently range from $39.99 per month for 40 Mbytes to $79.99 per month for unlimited data usage. Customers signing a two-year subscriber agreement will be eligible to 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.