Sprint and Novatel Wireless Inc. today announced commercial availability of the country’s first EV-DO Revision A-capable device — the Novatel Wireless S720 Sprint Mobile Broadband Card. This milestone follows Sprint’s recent announcement that it will begin upgrading the Sprint Power VisionSM Network to the faster EV-DO Revision A this year.
Designed for operation with compatible laptops as well as the soon-to-be-available Linksys Wireless G-Router for Mobile Broadband, the card, called 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, available through Sprint partners, operates on the current Sprint Power Vision Network and will support faster average download and upload speeds (450kbps – 850kbps and 300kbps – 400kbps, 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 years end. Ultimately, Sprint plans to reach more than 200 million people in the United States with mobile broadband data services in 220 major metropolitan areas by the end of 2006.
The Merlin S720 will be sold initially through Sprint indirect and business sales channels and online at www.sprint.com for a suggested retail price of $249.99 and as low as $99.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement. Service plans for the card currently range from $39.99 per month for 40MB 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.
The Sprint Power VisionSM Network now covers more than 153 million people and services customers in 220 major metropolitan areas.