The 3G Wave in USA
After years of hearing pundits claim 3G will be a total dead end, it’s fun to see EV-DO taking off like a rocket in the United States. My recent experience with a Verizon Aircard helps me understand where this “broadband everywhere there’s a mobile phone signal” may be headed.
I am the proud user of an EV-DO PC card (nee PCMCIA) that uses the Verizon service. Last week I was in Scottsdale, Arizona in an above average hotel that had NO broadband access in guest rooms. They offered WiFi in the lobby for a sliding scale, with a four-day subscription costing $22 or so.
My IT department sent me a Verizon card, which allowed me to use the Internet with EV-DO (very fast, 300-500Kbps) or a slower 1X-RTT service that’s generally a bit faster than a V.90 modem. EV-DO has not rolled out in the Phoenix (Scottsdale) area so I used 1X-RTT. It worked fine for email and light web use. I could get on my corporate VPN and do some work. I loved it.
How much did I love it? I sat in my hotel room and used the Internet rather than dragging down to the lobby and using the much faster WiFi. Broadband service ubiquity is dynamite.
When I landed in Santa Barbara (we have the cutest little airport in the world) I had to wait for my bag. I decided what the heck, I’ll fire up my beloved ThinkPad T42 and hit my email. So I stood in baggage claim and started working. After my bag came I used it as a stand-up desk and kept doing email. Finally, 30 minutes letter I dragged myself out to long term parking and drove away.
Easy, quick access to the Internet everywhere cahnges your life. Yes, WiFi rocks, but WiFi is (and will remain…) a relatively rare phenomena. Yeah, I can go to a Starbucks coffee shop of find a Borders bookstore, and many hotels and motels offer either WiFi or wired Ethernet.
But there are a gazillion places I can make a mobile phone call that do not have WiFi coverage. EV-DO will soon blanket the USA. With my $60 a month EV-DO PC card service which I admit is still a bit pricey, I can read and writ email, do instant messaging and “read the Internet” virtually anywhere. (EV-DO should hit Santa Barbara late this year.).
This is huge people. And guess what? All you skeptics who claim you’ll never watch any video on your mobile phones are DEAD wrong. Get a grip. You will watch CNN clips on your lunch hour. I know you will. You’ll catch special ESPN snippets. You’ll watch a 3 or 5-minute “mobile only” episode of American Idol or Big Brother or whatever.
You will surf the 3G wave. soon. Have fun.