johnny May 31st, 2008
For about six months now, we’ve been very happy with our EVDO service from Sprint. We invested in extras such as an external antenna and a Wilson trucker amplifier. We have had some sketchy service as we traveled around, but we have very rarely been in a complete dead zone in our, admittedly, limited travels.
Verizon has a slightly better coverage footprint than Sprint, at least the way most people seem to figure it, but Sprint had one major benefit: unlimited connectivity and downloads. Verizon claims to have ‘unlimited connectivity’, but after 5GB in a month, they start charging you $0.49 per MEG!
It seems that someone over at Sprint has decided that too many people are using their aircards too much. They’ve started sending out bills stating that within thirty days, a 5GB cap will be introduced to their service as well. Yes, they word their contracts such that they can change them on the fly. Yes, they are allowing people to leave without an early termination fee if they cancel within sixty days of notification. Do I think that changing contracts midstream is completely kosher? Nope.
Theres a 30+ page rant running over at the evdoinfo forums. What it all seems to boil down to is:
- Yes, this is for real.
- No, there is not much real information out there regarding the implementation.
- Maybe you will talk to a Sprint CS rep that has heard of the upcoming changes.
- No, you will not get the same story twice from Sprint CS.
Currently, the FCC defines ‘broadband’ service as download speeds of 768kbps or greater. Some back of the envelope math tells me that if you are actually receiving the minimum speed to be defined as broadband, you can exceed 5GB in slightly over 15 hours. If you actually get the theoretical peak speed of 3.1 mbps for EVDO Rev A, you run out of bandwidth in under four hours. By contrast, a 56k dial up can download about 15GB in a month. The FCC seriously needs to revise the definition of ‘broadband’ to include something other than how fast you can reach the cap and get disconnected, throttled or charged extra for each byte of information.
Me? I’m looking at Alltel. Their coverage map has some holes in it, but just maybe I can keep using the antenna and amplifier I’ve shelled out for and stay connected. At least until they decide a 5GB cap sounds good also. I almost miss the 14.4 modems of yore. At least they were honestly unlimited even if they did have a 4.45 GB cap built in.