Verizon Wireless made waves in late January with the commercial launch of its 1XRTT network, a 3G grid touting footprints on the east and west coasts.
Capable of data speeds up to 144 kilobits per second, the network will foster everything from voice calls to Internet browsing, streaming video and e-mail applications. Verizon said customers should expect average speeds between 40 kilobits per second and 60 kbps.
The event marked the first U.S. wireless carrier to commercially launch a sizeable 3G footprint. Verizon's 3G service area covers cities such as Norfolk, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Pa.; New York City and California's Bay Area. Verizon's 3G network is currently available to about 20 percent of its aggregate wireless service area. The company expects that the majority of its 222 million covered points-of-presence should gain access to Express Network by the end of 2002.
Express Network customers will need special equipment, including a new wireless handset from Kyocera or Sierra Wireless' AirCard 555 PC card, to tap into the advanced grid. Verizon's digital voice customers who transition to the new network will pay an additional $30 per month. Verizon also hopes to launch a tiered service plan based on data speeds.
Verizon, of course, isn't the only operator with 3G on the agenda. Others include AT&T Wireless Services, Cingular Wireless, Nextel Communications, Sprint PCS Group and VoiceStream.