Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO) & Telus

I wrote last week about Two More Access Points, primarily about how Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5 devices may overtake the market leadership of RIM's Blackberry devices during 2006.

One of those devices (and the one the IT Manager and Operating Systems Manager hope to have) is the UTStarcom PPC6700, also known as the "Genius Phone". How appropriate!

There are many features which make this an excellent choice of device for the mobile IT professional, including standby time of 200+ hours and talk time of 2.5-3.5 hours. But the one that puzzled me until recently is the EVDO capability of the device.

EVDO stands for Evolution-Data Optimized, a wireless high speed capability supposedly comparable to high-speed wired connections. If you happen to be in the EVDO coverage area, you can expect download speeds of 400-700 kbps. At the time of writing this, Pano Cap is not in the EVDO coverage area. That coverage area under Telus plans is only in the greater metropolitan areas like Toronto, Hamilton, Mississauga as well as Montreal.

Instead the Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge areas are covered under the digital PCS and 1X network services, a significantly slower data service. That being said, Telus still has the best wireless coverage of any cellular company in Canada. Bruce Anderson, a technical sales consultant in the Kitchener area, confirmed with me today that extending EVDO coverage to Kitchener will happen very soon. It is a high priority.

Telus only launched its 1x EV-DO (another way to describe the network) in November 2005, so this high-speed wireless coverage is still very new. Telus has had acrimonious labour disputes in 2005 as well. Ratification of an agreement between Telus and the TWU (Telecommunications Workers Union) only occurred in November 2005, about the same time Telus was unwrapping its EVDO network to the public.

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