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Sprint/Verizon EVDO and Cingular HSDPA compared

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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:11 pm    Post subject: Sprint/Verizon EVDO and Cingular HSDPA compared Reply with quote

Update: I am not an employee of or associated with any carrier, but should be known I do use Sprint based on the following analysis.

_____________1.0 EVDO Summary for Newbies_____________
EV-DO is a form of high speed wireless now broadly offered by Verizon and Sprint. While typically not as fast as WiFi, Internet access tends to be available metro-wide. You never have to look for a hotspot as long as you have a voice signal. Both Sprint and Verizon 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 in ideal conditions.

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 and will have EVDO roaming with Sprint networks later in 2006.



________________2.0 High Speed Coverage________________

Number of distinct contiguous metro markets partially covered by high speed wireless carriers:
Sprint: 155+
Verizon: 95+
Cingular: 16+
Alltel: 11+

Sprint
EVDO Coverage claimed: 164m+ population reported. As of Feb, Sprint claims 220 markets but it's really only 155+ contiguous distinct markets with significant coverage. Sprint plans to rollout to 200m+ pops by end of 2006 and nearly entire voice network by end of 2007. Sprint has all 1900mhz towers and appears to have more EVDO capacity. Click here for EVDO Coverage Map. Orange is current EVDO coverage, Yellow is future (by end of 2006 to early 2007).

Verizon
EVDO Coverage claimed: 153m+ population reported . As of Feb, Verizon claims 180+ markets but it's really only 95+ contiguous distinct markets. Verizon has future markets now showing on maps but unknown when they target to complete. Verizon has a mix of 800/1900mhz towers. For exclusive 800mhz markets that do have EVDO, performances avgs may be lower as there is likely not as much capacity for EVDO in 800mhz markets. If considering Verizon EVDO, may want to check if 1900mhz towers are in your area. Click here for EVDO Coverage Map - select Vcast.

Cingular
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 significant, 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.



________________3.0 Performance________________

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

As of Sept 29...

Sprint
Download Performance
Entries: 147
Average: 622Kbps
Median: 557Kbps
Peak: 1553Kbps (Rev A tests omitted)
>1Mbps: 17% of tests
>600Kbps: 43%
<400Kbps: 24%
Std Deviation: 314Kbps
Upld Avg: 72Kbps

Verizon
Download Performance
Entries: 126
Average: 534Kbps
Median: 467Kbps
Peak: 1682Kbps (Rev A tests omitted)
>1Mbps: 9% of tests
>600Kbps: 37%
<400Kbps: 40%
Std Deviation: 312Kbps
Upld Avg: 92Kbps



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.....

Verizon:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/myvzw.com

Sprint:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/spcsdns.net

To test yourself... (please record results to archive)
http://dslreports.com/stest/

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.



________________4.0 Terms of Service________________
Sprint
EVDO Terms of Service: No specific restrictions other than unlawful abuse. Sprint actually promotes streaming video and online game use. Server-services, such as running a web server, are not allowed. 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.

Verizon
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. Their appears to be a soft limit of about 5GB-10GB/month, which is still quite a bit, but might trigger a cancellation notice.

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

________________5.0 Rates________________

Sprint
EVDO Rates:
- Laptop/USB cards $60/month w2yr contract, no contract $80/month. No Sprint voice acct needed for either!
- 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
--- $40/month unlimited flat charge with 2yr contract, $50/month 1yr contract
- 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 and Mexico (additional charge)
- Will EVDO/1xRTT roam on Alltel in late 2006 at no charge. Alltel EVDO/1xRTT maps
- Offers three nextgen RevA cards now and more coming in Oct/Nov


Verizon
EVDO Rates:
- Laptop cards $60/month w2yr contract otherwise $80/month. The $60/month requires a cell phone account, the $80 does not.
- 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 = $60/month.
- Vcast and Razr phones apparently have tethering capability for total of $60/month.
- Details. on tethering plans.
- Can data roam 1xRTT on some domestic partners at no charge
- No specific details on nextgen RevA plans, no product offerings yet


Cingular
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.

________________6.0 Summary and Key Points ________________

Sprint
Key Points:
- More markets have EVDO, especially <1.5 million; large expansion plan to nearly 100% of network by 2007
- Publicized nextgen RevA plans (40m pops end of 2006, nearly 100% network by end of 2007)
- Only carrier now selling nextgen RevA cards
- Avg performance currently a little higher
- No voice account needed for the $60/month rate
- Much lower priced EVDO USB/Bluetooth phone tethering and in-phone data on PDAs
- Almost entirely unrestricted Terms of Service (unlimited means unlimited) but using server-side services not allowed, such as a web server
- Has USB Rev 0 and Rev A PC cards available while Verizon does not
- EVDO built in some Sony/Panasonic Toughbooks
- Will roam EVDO/1xRTT on Alltel (Q4 2006) at no charge, Canada and Mexico EVDO roaming available today
- Sprint's first level support is often poor, go direct to Tier 2 data group: 1.866.818.1944 (long wait)
- Sprint is blocking some incoming ports
- No Mac Support provided directly from Sprint. Apple does support some older Sprint cards - but cards must be activated in PC and must be inserted in PC to update PRL or do firmware upgrades.


Verizon
Key Points:
- Can roam slower 1xRTT data on some partners today
- May have more DO coverage on outskirts of some metro areas
- Has Rev0 ExpressCard format while Sprint does not (Novatel V640 )
- Official Mac support on all their cards, including MacBook Pro with ExpressCard
- EVDO built in some IBM/HP/Dell laptops
- Call-in customer support generally considered better
- Was first to rollout EVDO Rev0
- Has much higher user/tower ratio than other carriers, which can impact performance
- Significantly more restrictive terms of service with cancellation notices sent to heavy use (appears to be at around 5-10GB/month usage)
- Challenge to rollout >75% network and have effective capacity... due to 800mhz site user/tower ratio issues for EVDO
- No specific nextgen RevA plans or product releases yet

Cingular
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
- 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

____________________________________________________________

________________7.0 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 in July on Alltel - and to Canada/Mexico partners as well.


___________________8.0 Futures___________________
Verizon and Sprint plan Rev A upgrades to EVDO sometime in late 2006 to 2007. Rev 0 is what is currently available today. Sprint plans to rollout RevA to 10+ markets and 40m population by end of 2006 and the rest of DO network by end of 2007. Verizon has not mentioned detailed plans for RevA but does intend to rollout to some areas by next year.

Download theoretical peaks
Rev0 - 2.4Mbps (400-700Kbps avg)
RevA - 3.1Mbps (500-800Kbps avg)

Upload theoretical peaks
Rev0 - 144Kbps (50-100Kbps avg)
RevA - 1.8Mbps (300-600Kbps avg)

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

Rev 0 devices cannot be upgraded to Rev A but Rev 0 will work on Rev A towers and may be able to get closer to maximum specs when talking to a Rev A tower.

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


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

The next post is dated in November '05 so is old information.


Last edited by xenophon on Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:47 pm; edited 134 times in total
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Mackieman
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 491

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's interesting that Sprint seems to be slightly faster than Verizon. I guess the catch is that Verizon has a ton more EVDO coverage than Sprint does and Verizon has a lot more EVDO services than just data that are running for users, such as VCast. When Sprint catches up with Verizon in terms of coverage I'd love to see them give Verizon a run for their money and drive down price in the name of competition.
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xenophon
EVDO Addict


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sprint is claiming EVDO coverage to 130 million population now (Nov). The most I've seen claimed by Verizon is 140 million so there's not much difference.

I'm not sure how Verizon does 'a lot more services' for EVDO. Sprint does MobiTV and downloadable music over EVDO.

Apparently Verizon shares voice with EVDO on the same site while Sprint has dedicated trunks to EVDO. Also, Verizon has a mix of 800/1900mhz towers and 800 has limited capacity for data. Sprint is all 1900.


But both Verizon and Sprint have a service level agreement of 400-700Kbps so that should meet their capacity requirements for a while.


Last edited by xenophon on Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:42 am; edited 3 times in total
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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will be interesting to see how the results change over a period of several months.


Results from.....

Verizon:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/myvzw.com

Sprint:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/spcsdns.net

To test yourself...
http://speedtest.frontiernet.net/

These are all entries that have over 130Kbit/sec. The assumption is, if under 130K, it might have been a 1xRTT connection. I previously based on below 120K but I've seen 1xRTT entires in the 120s so bumped to 130K baseline.


Sprint
Entries: 109
Average: 680Kbps
Median: 664Kbps
Peak: 1445Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 24%
Over 600Kbps: 52%


Verizon
Entries: 191
Average: 615Kbps
Median: 542Kbps
Peak: 1880Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 9%
Over 600Kbps: 45%
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Michael
Site Admin


Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 6206
Location: Cary, IL

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is great information.

It will be very useful to post the stats every 30 days to see how things are going with both Verizon & Sprint. I would expect that Sprint will start to slow down as a few things happen:

- they start getting customers (compared to Verizon)

- Top .005% (just guessing) of Verizon Abusers that get kicked off Verizon and jump to Sprint. Sprint doesn't care about this now and welcomes these users, but don't you think Sprint will start to do the same things that Verizon is doing with users that are using huge amounts of bandwidth or doing P2P sharing?

Please keep posting these every 30 days to this thread - it could be useful for future customers who are deciding between Verizon & Sprint.

Thanks!
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xenophon
EVDO Addict


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll update about every month. I encourage users on here to test at the following site once a month and post the results within the site so that it gets archived. I'm pulling the results out of the archive. It would help to have a broader, larger number of results per month.

http://speedtest.frontiernet.net/
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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've filtered out unrealistic results (dl over 2MB and ul over 200K) and multiple entries by zipcode within a few hours. For duplicate zips near same time, I kept the highest speed. This should give more realistic averages and factor out people who test multiple times in a row.



Results from.....

Verizon:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/myvzw.com

Sprint:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/spcsdns.net

To test yourself...
http://speedtest.frontiernet.net/

These are all entries that have over 130Kbit/sec. The assumption is, if under 130K, it might have been a 1xRTT connection. I previously based on below 120K but I've seen 1xRTT entires in the 120s so bumped to 130K baseline.


Sprint
Entries: 126
Average: 760Kbps
Median: 728Kbps
Peak: 1685Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 27%
Over 600Kbps: 60%
Coverage claimed: 130 million (mid-Nov, 150m by early 06)


Verizon
Entries: 145
Average: 585Kbps
Median: 526Kbps
Peak: 1679Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 10%
Over 600Kbps: 40%
Coverage claimed: 140 million (Dec)
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xenophon
EVDO Addict


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've filtered out unrealistic results (dl over 2MB and ul over 200K) and multiple entries by zipcode within a few hours. For duplicate zips near same time, I kept the highest speed. This should give more realistic averages and factor out people who test multiple times in a row.



Results from.....

Verizon:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/myvzw.com

Sprint:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/spcsdns.net

To test yourself...
http://speedtest.frontiernet.net/

These are all entries that have over 130Kbit/sec. The assumption is, if under 130K, it might have been a 1xRTT connection. I previously based on below 120K but I've seen 1xRTT entires in the 120s so bumped to 130K baseline.


Sprint
Entries: 108
Average: 694Kbps
Median: 628Kbps
Peak: 1829Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 20%
Over 600Kbps: 50%
Coverage claimed: 130 million mid-Nov, 150m by early 06


Verizon
Entries: 145
Average: 558Kbps
Median: 531Kbps
Peak: 1288Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 7%
Over 600Kbps: 39%
Coverage claimed: 140 million in Dec, 150m after rollout completes
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pablodiablo
EVDO Newbie


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

can you include the card model # and whether you are using an external antenna + db/signal level (are these numbers across the street from the tower?)
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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^These results are from dozens of users who have tested on the speedtest site. It is not known what cards are being used. See the links for details.
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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Filtered out are unrealistic results (dl over 2Mbps and ul over 200K) and multiple entries by zipcode within a few hours. For duplicate zips near same time, the highest speed was kept. This should give more realistic averages and factor out people who test multiple times in a row.

Results from.....

Verizon:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/myvzw.com

Sprint:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/archive/spcsdns.net

To test yourself...
http://speedtest.frontiernet.net/

These are all entries that have over 130Kbit/sec. The assumption is, if under 130K, it might have been a 1xRTT connection.

As of Jan 25, 2006 at 11AM CST

____________________________________________________________
Sprint
Performance
Entries: 115
Average: 727Kbps
Median: 663Kbps
Peak: 1829Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 25%
Over 600Kbps: 55%

Verizon
Performance
Entries: 142
Average: 568Kbps
Median: 550Kbps
Peak: 2017Kbps
Over 1Mbps: 7%
Over 600Kbps: 39%


Last edited by xenophon on Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:31 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Scott
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 18 Jul 2005
Posts: 530
Location: Central Coast of California

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now if Sprint would just start selling the Kyocera KPC650 we'd be in business. (since it has full Mac support)

Last edited by Scott on Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Sprint Sierra and Merlin cards do work on Mac but you would have to configure manually (instructions on this site). Some Sprint EVDO phones can also be USB tethered on Mac.

But Sprint does not officially support it, the community does. Verizon officially supports the Kyocera card on Mac laptops with PC card slot.
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xenophon
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Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is interesting. While Verizon and Cingular specifically state no streaming video, music or online gaming, Sprint actually promotes it.

http://www.sprint.com/business/products/products/wirelessHighSpeedData_tabB.jsp

Permits More Business ApplicationsóWith Sprint you can:
* Stream a meeting to a national employee audience
* Download multimedia content (i.e., sales presentations or training video), music or games.
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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've updated post #1 to show updated comparisons and I'll keep updating it. If you see any discrepencies or have anything to contribute, post here and I'll update the first post.
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