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Sprint/Verizon EVDO and Cingular HSDPA compared

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by xenophon, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. xenophon

    xenophon Member
    Senior Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Please sanity check. Am looking for any discrepencies in this analysis. Am particularly looking for more HSDPA info for comparison.

    _____________EVDO Summary for Newbies_____________
    EVDO is a form of high speed wireless now broadly offered by Verizon and Sprint. Both offer EVDO phones and EVDO laptop cards. Verizon markets EVDO as VCast for phones and BroadbandAccess for laptop cards. Sprint markets EVDO as PowerVision for phones and Mobile Broadband for laptop cards. Both promote the average range of speeds between 400-700Kbits/sec (compared to a 56Kbits/sec modem dialup) but it is possible to get speeds over 1000Kbits/sec if near a tower.

    Before EVDO there was 1xRTT data with slower speeds typically between 50-100Kbits/sec and max of 144Kbits/sec. If EVDO is not available in an area, the EVDO device will step down and use 1xRTT. In general, wherever Sprint/Verizon have voice service, there is likely 1xRTT data service.

    Cingular has begun rolling out a comparable technology known as HSDPA. Performance is comparable to EVDO but only a handful of markets have HSDPA. Alltel also has rolled out EVDO to a few markets.

    ________________High Speed Coverage________________

    Number of distinct contiguous markets covered by high speed wireless carriers:
    Sprint: 150+
    Verizon: 85+
    Cingular: 16+
    Alltel: 11+

    EVDO Coverage claimed: 150m+ population reported in December 2005. As of Feb, Sprint claims 220 markets but it's really only 150+ contiguous distinct markets with significant coverage. Sprint plans to rollout to 190m pops by end of 2006 and entire voice network by end of 2007. Sprint has all 1900mhz towers and can more easily add EVDO to any of them. Click here for EVDO Coverage Map.

    EVDO Coverage claimed: 148m population reported in December 2005. As of Feb, Verizon claims 180+ markets but it's really only 85+ contiguous distinct markets. No source found on expansion plans. Verizon has a mix of 800/1900mhz towers and tends to only put EVDO on 1900 so they may not do >75% of network. For exclusive 800mhz markets that do have EVDO, performances avgs are likely lower. If considering Verizon EVDO, may want to check if 1900mhz towers are in your area. Click here for EVDO Coverage Map - select Vcast.

    HSDPA Coverage claimed: Under 20 major markets. Initial plans were to expand to 100 markets by end of 2006 but lately they've been saying 'most major markets' for 2006. Some are also apparently only getting slower UMTS, not HSDPA. UMTS/HSDPA is not GSM based and therefore is a significantly, more costly upgrade for cellsites. Will be interesting to see what % of network becomes HSDPA in a couple years. PC World Review suggests the coverage maps are less than honest.

    See this evolving list of coverage.


    Performance measurements are in bits, not bytes.
    1000Kbits/sec = ~125KBytes/sec
    600Kbits/sec = ~75KBytes/sec

    As of April 21, 2006
    Download Performance
    Entries: 146
    Average: 603Kbps
    Median: 480Kbps
    Peak: 1755Kbps
    >1Mbps: 15% of tests
    >600Kbps: 37%
    <400Kbps: 33%
    Std Deviation: 390Kbps
    Upld Avg: 78Kbps

    Download Performance
    Entries: 125
    Average: 587Kbps
    Median: 529Kbps
    Peak: 1760Kbps
    >1Mbps: 11% of tests
    >600Kbps: 41%
    <400Kbps: 27%
    Std Deviation: 320Kbps
    Upld Avg: 93Kbps

    Cingular HSDPA
    Seeking comprehensive source for real-world user tests. Some users on HoFo are reporting 600k-1Mbps. PC World Review suggests not up to par with EVDO. Another article. HSDPA in some cases may have better latency than EVDO Rev 0 but not better than EVDO Rev A coming next year.

    Performance results from.....



    To test yourself... (please record results to archive)

    Methodology: Filtered out are unrealistic results (dl over 2.4Mbps and ul over 150K) and multiple entries by zipcode within a few hours. For duplicate zips near same time, the highest speed was kept. For registered users posted, only the highest score was kept. This should give more realistic averages and factor out people who test multiple times in a row. These are all entries that have over 130Kbit/sec. The assumption is, if under 130K, it might have been a 1xRTT connection.

    ________________Terms of Service________________
    EVDO Terms of Service: No specific restrictions other than unlawful abuse. Sprint actually promotes streaming video and online game use. Sprint does state the right to cancel service for any reasons but there are no known sources of Sprint sending letters for TOS violation if having the proper EVDO account.

    EVDO Terms of Service: Not allowed... Legal downloading or streaming music/movies/radio, VoIP, online games, webcams, among other things are "officially" not allowed. Verizon has sent letters to some users for TOS violation with specific dates mentioned for cancelling service.

    HSDPA Terms of Service: Appears less restrictive than Verizon but more restrictive than Sprint. Details here.


    EVDO Rates:
    - Laptop cards $60/month w2yr contract/voice acct otherwise $80/month.
    - PowerVision phones start at $15/month, includes unlimited data/browsing within phone (and PDA phones).
    - USB or Bluetooth tethering to laptop officially available on all PowerVision phones with two plan options...
    --- $25/month for 40MB with per KB charge that caps to $70/month OR
    --- (new) $40/month unlimited flat charge.
    - Some PowerVision phones can be hacked to tether on the $15/month account (w/risk of terms of service violation or worse).
    - Can EVDO roam in Canada currently at no charge, Mexico supposedly coming

    EVDO Rates:
    - Laptop cards $60/month w2yr contract/voice acct otherwise $80/month.
    - VCast phones start at $15/month but unlimited data within a PDA phone is $45/month.
    - USB tethering to laptop officially available on new BlackBerry EVDO phone and some smartphone phones - $45/month for unlimited data + $15/month to tether.
    - Vcast and Razr phones apparently have tethering capability for $60/month.
    - Details. on tethering plans.

    HSDPA Rates:
    For data cards, appears to be $60/month with 2yr contract/voice plan otherwise $80/month. Appears to be $45-$50/month for in-phone use on PDAs and BlackBerries. Not clear on tethering details. Please post if you find more details. This is all I could find.
  2. xenophon

    xenophon Member
    Senior Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Likes Received:

    ________________Summary and Key Points ________________

    Key Points:
    - More markets have EVDO, especially <1.5 million; large expansion plan to 100% of network by 2007
    - Solid nextgen Rev A plans (100% network by end of 2007)
    - Avg performance currently a little higher
    - Much lower priced EVDO USB/Bluetooth phone tethering and in-phone data
    - Almost entirely unrestricted Terms of Service
    - EVDO built in some Panasonic Toughbooks
    - Can roam EVDO in Canada currently at no charge, Mexico EVDO roaming supposedly coming
    - Free/discounted EVDO laptop cards til May 1 '06 (can be acquired on this site)
    - Sprint support monitors/responds on evdoforums.com
    - Browser image compression annoys some. (hack). Fix by Sprint coming.
    - Sprint's first level support is often poor, go direct to Tier 2 data group: 1.866.818.1944 (long wait)

    Key Points:
    - Can roam slower 1xRTT data on some partners today
    - May have unique coverage on outskirts of some larger metro areas
    - Official Mac support for some laptops
    - EVDO built in some IBM/HP laptops
    - Call-in customer support generally considered better
    - Verizon cellsite techs have responded on evdoforums.com
    - Considering tiered pricing for heavy EVDO users
    - Significantly more restrictive terms of service with cancellation notices sent
    - Challenge to rollout >75% network due to 800mhz site limitations for EVDO

    Key Points:
    - Just getting started with <20 US markets, Most major markets planned by end of 2006
    - HSDPA phones coming will do voice/data simultaneously
    - No HSDPA phones yet but slower UMTS phone have been announced
    - Theoretically has better latency but in realworld tests not always case
    - HSDPA has more global presence, but global roaming very expensive
    - HSDPA to be built in some IBM/Dell laptops
    - Switching between slower Edge and UMTS/HSDPA is not seamless
    - Challenge to rollout to 100% network as 44,000+ sites require major upgrade

    ________________Voice and older data Networks________________
    According to the Sprint/Nextel FCC application in 2005, Sprint had over 24,000 cell sites and will be adding 14,000 more on Nextel sites by 2008, adding 1000 for end of 2005. According to this in Feb 2006, Verizon had "over 24,000" cell sites. This suggests Verizon had 22,000, Sprint had 25,000 and Cingular had over 44,000 sites in Aug 2005.

    Cingular claims to cover nearly 270 million population natively with voice and 268 million with GPRS and nearly 260 million with EDGE. Verizon claims to reach over 250 million population with native network. Sprint claims to reach over 250 million population with native CDMA network and 268 million combined with Nextel sites. Both Sprint and Verizon claim to reach over 290 million with roaming and Cingular likely does as well (need source). Verizon can 1xRTT roam today on most partners while Sprint says 1xRTT data roaming is coming 'very soon' - and to Canadian partners as well.

    Verizon and Sprint plan Rev A upgrades to EVDO sometime in late 2006 to 2007. Rev 0 is what is currently available today.

    Rev0 - 2.4Mbps
    RevA - 3.1Mbps

    Rev0 - 144Kbps
    RevA - 1.8Mbps

    Latency (lower is better)
    Rev0 - 150ms-400ms or higher
    RevA - as low as 50ms in best cases
    HSDPA - 120ms-400ms or higher

    Cannot find specific details for Verizon future plans but there are reports of Sprint details here. More solid Sprint plans here.

    If any discrepancies or if you have a source with conflicting info, please post as I'm attempting to keep this updated accurately.
  3. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
    Senior Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Eastern Pennsylvania
    My Phone:
    Samsung SCH i760,
    Wireless Provider(s):
    SKT, Verizon, China Mobile, EPlus
    DSL Reports Mobile Speed Test Results

    It looks as if HSDPA has better latency than EV-DO Rev 0.

    Some HSDPA users are getting faster data speeds than Sprint or Verizon EV-DO users. There are few HSDPA users who are running these tests, therefore the statistics are not significant at the moment.
  4. xenophon

    xenophon Member
    Senior Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Those are not HSDPA Cingular results, they are EDGE results using the Opera mobile browser, which does not properly clear cache. Opera browser results are invalid. Try it with Internet Explorer or Firefox. Most HSDPA users on howardforums are reporting 600Kbps-1.2Mbps. There are a good chunk of EVDO users getting up to 1.8Mbps.

    On latency, HSDPA is capable of doing about 120ms latency and EVDO Rev 0 does 150ms in best cases. But depending on distance and obstructions to tower, both can go up to 400ms latency. EVDO ReV A coming end of this year can do as low as 50ms latency.

    Here is a better dslreports archive....
    http://www.dslreports.com/archive/spcsdns.net (Sprint)
    http://www.dslreports.com/archive/myvzw.com (Verizon)
    http://www.dslreports.com/archive/mycingular.net (Cingular Edge)

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