RealTime IT News

Verizon Wireless 3G Network Goes Live

By @NY Staff

Bedminster, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless announced the launch of its commercial 3G network in the Northeast U.S., an add-on service that allows high-speed Web connectivity on mobile phones, laptops and PDAs.

The service, which promises full wireless Internet and intranet access and traditional e-mail service on cell phones and laptops at average speeds between 40 and 60 kbps, higher than speeds on dial-up Internet connections.

The company, which is locked in a high-stakes race with Sprint PCS to market the 3G services, said the 'Express Network' was available on the Kyocera 2235 handset or with the AirCard 555 PC card from Sierra Wireless, which can be plugged into laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Verizon Wireless said existing monthly subscribers with a calling plan exceeding $35.00 could sign up for 3G service for an additional $30.00 monthly. The company said it would introduce usage plans based on kilobyte usage for customers and enterprises that prefer such pricing.

The Sierra Wireless AirCard 555, which retails for $299.99, would allow subscribers to add voice, circuit-switched data and short messaging service capabilities to their laptops or PDAs.

Verizon's 3G service allows subscribers to access the wireless Web at speeds comparable to dial-up modems. The commercial 1XRTT service, dubbed 'Express Network,' was launched Monday in areas of the Northeast U.S., from Norfolk, VA, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, up to Boston and in Portland, Maine.

On the B2B side, Verizon Wireless announced it would partner with Accenture to market and sell mobile enterprise applications offered by the Accenture Mobile Service Bureau.

Under terms of the deal, the two companies plan to sell enterprise customers access to wide variety of integrated mobile solutions deployed on the 3G Network and Verizon Wireless' existing digital network.

Separately, Verizon Wireless continued its public relations push with an announcement touting a 10 percent year-over-year customer growth.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and U.K.-based Vodafone Group , said total customer grew to 29.4 million at the end of 2001, a 10 percent hike over year-end 2000.

During the fourth quarter last year, Verizon Wireless said it added approximately 715,000 new customers.

The company said more than 80 percent of customer additions in the fourth quarter came from contract customers.