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This is a rather interesting read though, admittedly I cannot vouch for the veracity of it's contents:

 

http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/10/GSM3G.shtml

 

There's a lot of truth in that article. The dumb Ericsson execs that didn't play their cards right probably cost a chance to get a shared standard. Ericsson flipped on CDMA2000 a bunch of times. They didn't want it, then bought Qualcomm's CDMA router business, didn't win any large contracts, shut that down, then took Nortel's CDMA2000 business of the scrap of C7. Their technical people and engineers are the best around, though, and they survived better than Alcatel-Lucent has. Alcatel-Lucent just fired a CEO and hired a new one, and are losing money hand over fist.

 

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-26/alcatel-lucent-posts-quarterly-loss-as-new-ceo-reviews-strategy.html

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Regarding this whole discussion about Sprint switching to UMTS, I do agree that this is a few years too late -- LTE *is* the evolution of UMTS, so putting the money into releasing UMTS, and swapping phones would be like blowing money... had they had their ducks in a row ~2007-2008, this *might* have made some sense as they could have had an straight(er) path to LTE -- but it didn't happen, and it's way too late now--they can should put the money into making NV and LTE the best they possibly can. Plus, as has been pointed out, CDMA2000 runs on 2.5 Mhz. channels -- with the 10 mhz. PCS markets (not counting the G block) that Sprint has down south in some markets, this would have been impossible to shoehorn in without either buying more spectrum or making a flash cut. The fact that CDMA2000 allows you to launch EV-DO on a 2.5 mhz. of spectrum is a good thing!

 

What I *do* think they can and should do (even though they probably won't--few have) is to be the first carrier to launch EV-DO Rev. B in conjunction with LTE -- the whole idea behind Rev. B was to string up to 3 EV-DO channels together (so 7.5 mhz. of spectrum) to provide a ~10 meg connection. Now that the backhaul is there for NV, why not go ahead and do this as well? From what I understand, it's just a software upgrade that all their legacy equipment can take, they wouldn't have to dedicate 10 mhz. of spectrum for it, and in areas where they already have 2 or 3 EV-DO channels available, it would simply combine them together to allow the phone to use the larger bandwidth available to it--and in areas where they don't have the spectrum for all 3 channels for whatever reason, they can do it with just 2 channels and get a ~6 meg connection. Also, most 3G phones released in the last 5 years already support it--it's just been laying in wait.

 

I say Rev. B since I think it would do a few things... 1. It would give the lower end 3G-only/prepaid devices a bit more usability without gobbling up a ton of bandwidth from LTE and NV -- 2. It's just a software upgrade on the base stations, and most all EV-DO phones made in the last 5 years support it -- I could see why they didn't do it before since the backhaul wasn't there--but with the NV backhaul there, it would lessen the "brick wall effect" for LTE users -- the signal requirements for Rev. B are the same as EV-DO, so in areas where 4G drops, but a 3G signal can still be had, you would still get a useable amount of data (say a 2 meg connection on 2 bars of 3G with Rev. B vs. 500k or less on equivalent Rev. A)

 

I realize they are releasing LTE on 800 as well, and that will fix a lot of in-building issues -- but there will STILL be plenty of single band LTE devices around for quite some time (they still haven't started selling 800 capable LTE devices), plus all the 3G-only lower end devices that could use the boost--it would only go towards helping Sprint's perception of service quality.

 

I'm surprised that Verizon didn't jump on Rev. B years ago, and that it has only been deployed by a handful of carriers -- everything I've read about it makes it seem like a fairly trivial upgrade, aside from backhaul requirements (that you'd have to do anyway to increase the speed of your network -- and which Sprint is taking care of with NV)

 

--Nat

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Regarding this whole discussion about Sprint switching to UMTS, I do agree that this is a few years too late -- LTE *is* the evolution of UMTS, so putting the money into releasing UMTS, and swapping phones would be like blowing money...

 

It wouldn't actually require replacing large numbers of phones, since the only phone released in recent years that doesn't support UMTS and doesn't support ESMR CDMA is the iPhone 4. That phone will get phased out anyway, as they upgrade to newer models.

 

Rev B has been discussed over and over, it would require a ton of resources that are better spent on NV/LTE.

 

Not to mention, stringing three Ev-DO Rev B carriers together is less efficient than a single UMTS 1900 carrier that offers Category 14 (21.1Mbps) downlink and category 7 (11.1Mbps) uplink and one (short-term) Ev-DO Rev A carrier for backward compatibility.

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It wouldn't actually require replacing large numbers of phones, since the only phone released in recent years that doesn't support UMTS and doesn't support ESMR CDMA is the iPhone 4. That phone will get phased out anyway, as they upgrade to newer models.

 

When you consider all the phones active on the Sprint network, the amount that could be used on a new Sprint WCDMA network is a very low percentage. And if they started producing them in the next 6 months to a year that way, then it's completely useless. Sprint will have nationwide LTE near the end of that time. Previous UMTS standards offer no benefit over LTE except voice. And Sprint will not abandon 1x for years.

 

A simple network architecture that has a simplified part list is less expensive and easier to manage. Kind of like how Southwest Airlines uses only 737's. Yes, if SWA purchased some smaller and larger jets, they would be a better fit for some routes and better for some customers. However, it would not be better for the airline. Especially if the planes being bought are the previous model. It just doesn't make sense.

 

Robert via Nexus 7 with Tapatalk HD

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When you consider all the phones active on the Sprint network, the amount that could be used on a new Sprint WCDMA network is a very low percentage. And if they started producing them in the next 6 months to a year that way, then it's completely useless. Sprint will have nationwide LTE near the end of that time. Previous UMTS standards offer no benefit over LTE except voice. And Sprint will not abandon 1x for years.

 

A simple network architecture that has a simplified part list is less expensive and easier to manage. Kind of like how Southwest Airlines uses only 737's. Yes, if SWA purchased some smaller and larger jets, they would be a better fit for some routes and better for some customers. However, it would not be better for the airline. Especially if the planes being bought are the previous model. It just doesn't make sense.

 

Robert via Nexus 7 with Tapatalk HD

 

That is currently true. However, a Sprint WCDMA network would have a number of current restrictions removed from it.

 

One major restriction is that Sprint-branded phones are the only phones allowed. No Virgin Mobile phones, no Boost Mobile phones, no non-Sprint (but compatible) CDMA phones, and no compatible CDMA/LTE phones. That goes away with Sprint PCS WCDMA.

 

The sheer size of the PCS WCDMA ecosystem is monumental. Because of early influence by deployments in the Americas, Europe and Asia are saturated with tri-band WCDMA phones that do WCDMA 900/1900/2100. There's also Latin America, who has largely converted PCS CDMA2000 to WCDMA, or at least done the overlay and stopped selling CDMA phones. Canada has done something similar, in order to get roaming revenue for the Olympics and simplify the LTE deployment architecture.

 

There's also inbound roaming. Right now, AT&T has a monopoly on PCS WCDMA roaming. And AT&T's rates are ridiculous. It was the same in Canada (with Rogers) until the Bell+Telus WCDMA network came online. Roaming rates have come down there.

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Regarding this whole discussion about Sprint switching to UMTS, I do agree that this is a few years too late -- LTE *is* the evolution of UMTS, so putting the money into releasing UMTS, and swapping phones would be like blowing money... had they had their ducks in a row ~2007-2008, this *might* have made some sense as they could have had an straight(er) path to LTE -- but it didn't happen, and it's way too late now--they can should put the money into making NV and LTE the best they possibly can. Plus, as has been pointed out, CDMA2000 runs on 2.5 Mhz. channels -- with the 10 mhz. PCS markets (not counting the G block) that Sprint has down south in some markets, this would have been impossible to shoehorn in without either buying more spectrum or making a flash cut. The fact that CDMA2000 allows you to launch EV-DO on a 2.5 mhz. of spectrum is a good thing!

 

What I *do* think they can and should do (even though they probably won't--few have) is to be the first carrier to launch EV-DO Rev. B in conjunction with LTE -- the whole idea behind Rev. B was to string up to 3 EV-DO channels together (so 7.5 mhz. of spectrum) to provide a ~10 meg connection. Now that the backhaul is there for NV, why not go ahead and do this as well? From what I understand, it's just a software upgrade that all their legacy equipment can take, they wouldn't have to dedicate 10 mhz. of spectrum for it, and in areas where they already have 2 or 3 EV-DO channels available, it would simply combine them together to allow the phone to use the larger bandwidth available to it--and in areas where they don't have the spectrum for all 3 channels for whatever reason, they can do it with just 2 channels and get a ~6 meg connection. Also, most 3G phones released in the last 5 years already support it--it's just been laying in wait.

 

I say Rev. B since I think it would do a few things... 1. It would give the lower end 3G-only/prepaid devices a bit more usability without gobbling up a ton of bandwidth from LTE and NV -- 2. It's just a software upgrade on the base stations, and most all EV-DO phones made in the last 5 years support it -- I could see why they didn't do it before since the backhaul wasn't there--but with the NV backhaul there, it would lessen the "brick wall effect" for LTE users -- the signal requirements for Rev. B are the same as EV-DO, so in areas where 4G drops, but a 3G signal can still be had, you would still get a useable amount of data (say a 2 meg connection on 2 bars of 3G with Rev. B vs. 500k or less on equivalent Rev. A)

 

I realize they are releasing LTE on 800 as well, and that will fix a lot of in-building issues -- but there will STILL be plenty of single band LTE devices around for quite some time (they still haven't started selling 800 capable LTE devices), plus all the 3G-only lower end devices that could use the boost--it would only go towards helping Sprint's perception of service quality.

 

I'm surprised that Verizon didn't jump on Rev. B years ago, and that it has only been deployed by a handful of carriers -- everything I've read about it makes it seem like a fairly trivial upgrade, aside from backhaul requirements (that you'd have to do anyway to increase the speed of your network -- and which Sprint is taking care of with NV)

 

--Nat

 

Sprint will be phasing out EVDO carriers for additional LTE 1900 carriers as needed. The possibilities of additional EVDO carriers to be useful to EVDO-B will be dwindling. Sprint should take the money it would spend on EVDO-B to expand the LTE experience through DAS and small cells. To have a more consistent LTE experience over the entire network is much more important than shoring up EVDO further (a dying technology). If people could have a good LTE experience over the whole Sprint network, then EVDO would fade away.

 

Also, people would not like to see their EVDO experience jump up to 7-9Mbps and then drop to 4-6Mbps and then back to 1-2Mbps. But that's what would happen as Sprint has to repurpose EVDO spectrum for LTE over time.

 

I just don't get this hysteria over 3G. LTE is going nationwide. The places you'll get 3G is going to be less and less and less. In my mind, I see it this way, you currently drive a Geo and have done so for years, but the Corvette you ordered will arrive next month. You could go down and buy an Impala to last you the next month, or you can just finish out with the Geo. Let's waste our money and our time and buy the Impala now!

 

Yes, the Corvette will not travel down all the roads the Geo or Impala will. Just like LTE may not go every single place that EVDO will. But with the money you save from buying the Impala, you can do lots of things. Just like with not wasting money on EVDO-B. With LTE 800 and small cells, Sprint LTE can have equal or better coverage than EVDO in a short time period. And no one will want to go back to EVDO again for data at all.

 

Robert via Nexus 7 with Tapatalk HD

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There seems to be a bit of confusion about EV-DO Rev B in this thread. Multicarrier EV-DO Rev B is possible but not required. And even then, the minimum for Multicarrier is 2xEV-DO, not 3xEV-DO.

 

But the primary enhancement integral to Rev B is the ability to use 64-QAM to increase per carrier data rates up to 4.9 Mbps. This is basically akin to the difference between HSPA+ 14, which maxes out at 16-QAM, and HSPA+ 21, which can use 64-QAM. And this 64-QAM capability is just a software update, surely within the realm of Sprint's new RRUs.

 

The problem, however, is that 64-QAM is usable only under the best of signal conditions, typically only within small radii of the cell site. In those locations and under those signal conditions on the Sprint network, LTE will surely be usable. So, 64-QAM would buy Sprint essentially no advantage. Only Multicarrier Rev B could help increase data rates under poorer signal conditions where LTE falls back to eHRPD.

 

AJ

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Not to beat a dead horse any further, but...

 

The problem that *not* supporting UMTS at the network level is, we will forever be tied to 1x/evdo technology.

 

If there is truly a dead horse in this conversation, it is 1x/evdo, regardless of technical superiority (or not).

 

If sprint did eventually add umts to the network, they could begin to phase out cdma technology out of new devices, thus gaining the 'global scale' of the rest of the world, and losing the dead horse around the neck of future devices.

 

At that point, it would put additional pressure on vz being the last major carrier for cdma, they would be at the disadvantage device/technology wise..

 

Something else for thought;

 

Once the softbank/clear stuff finishes one way or the other, there is the other elephant in the room, TMO.

 

If sprint/softbank were to eventually acquire TMO, they instantly have a umts network overlay, sprint could immediately switch to primary gsm/umts based devices (possibly with 1x backup or not), with LTE being the unifying tech between the networks.

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Not to beat a dead horse any further, but...

 

The problem that *not* supporting UMTS at the network level is, we will forever be tied to 1x/evdo technology.

 

If there is truly a dead horse in this conversation, it is 1x/evdo, regardless of technical superiority (or not).

 

If sprint did eventually add umts to the network, they could begin to phase out cdma technology out of new devices, thus gaining the 'global scale' of the rest of the world, and losing the dead horse around the neck of future devices.

 

At that point, it would put additional pressure on vz being the last major carrier for cdma, they would be at the disadvantage device/technology wise..

 

Something else for thought;

 

Once the softbank/clear stuff finishes one way or the other, there is the other elephant in the room, TMO.

 

If sprint/softbank were to eventually acquire TMO, they instantly have a umts network overlay, sprint could immediately switch to primary gsm/umts based devices (possibly with 1x backup or not), with LTE being the unifying tech between the networks.

 

Since up until this very day, Sprint has been pushing 1x, especially when you consider M2M, Sprint would be phasing out 1x and WCDMA at the same time. So why add the WCDMA? Plus, you miss the most important point of all, Sprint cannot add WCDMA to about 35% of its network because it does not have the spectrum. A WCDMA carrier takes as much spectrum as an LTE carrier. And it is more important to shore up LTE if you dig up 10MHz, since voice can be run over 1x. So, this is a "if wishes were horses" kind of discussion anyway.

 

Robert

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One major restriction is that Sprint-branded phones are the only phones allowed. No Virgin Mobile phones, no Boost Mobile phones, no non-Sprint (but compatible) CDMA phones, and no compatible CDMA/LTE phones. That goes away with Sprint PCS WCDMA.

 

I know that inveterate handset switchers and cheapskates hate Sprint's insular device policy. But, honestly, with the number of largely proprietary bands/classes in which Sprint is operating, the restrictive policy makes sense.

 

If users could bring in outside W-CDMA 1900 handsets, they would lack CDMA1X 800. Or even if Sprint were running W-CDMA 800, outside devices would assuredly lack that band. So, BYOD users would get a lesser Sprint experience, and that would do nothing to improve the perception of Sprint's network.

 

AJ

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I accept that its not really feasible with the current spectrum, that's why buying TMO would be the most likely/feasible path forward for going umts.

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I know that inveterate handset switchers and cheapskates hate Sprint's insular device policy. But, honestly, with the number of largely proprietary bands/classes in which Sprint is operating, the restrictive policy makes sense.

 

If users could bring in outside W-CDMA 1900 handsets, they would lack CDMA1X 800. Or even if Sprint were running W-CDMA 800, outside devices would assuredly lack that band. So, BYOD users would get a lesser Sprint experience, and that would do nothing to improve the perception of Sprint's network.

 

AJ

 

Even Virgin and Boost phones? Are you telling me that Sprint couldn't allow those?

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Even Virgin and Boost phones? Are you telling me that Sprint couldn't allow those?

 

That might have made sense a few years ago when Sprint, Virgin, and Boost were all operating in parallel on CDMA1X/EV-DO. But, now, Sprint wants most new subs using LTE capable devices, of which Virgin and Boost have very few.

 

AJ

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after softbank/clear completion, and assuming 2600 will end up on all towers eventually;

 

1x can be left on 800 indefinitely, providing cdma service to legacy devices etc

 

800 can be used for lte, 1900 for evdo/umts/lte (where spectrum allows), 2600 for lte

 

as trimode umts devices come out and evdo devices are phased out, umts eventually replaces evdo in 1900, leaving 1x on 800, umts on 1 carrier 1900, and lte on everything else.

 

assuming tmo gets bought some time in the future, umts/hspda would run across tmo spectrum, at which point evdo could be phased out at 1900 and be used for only lte.

 

obviously this pie in the sky arm chair hypothetical rambling

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My only reason for even mentioning this thread in the beginning was I was imagining 5-7 years down the line, how useful is EV-DO/x1 going to be vs HSPA+ 21/42, and I am sure they are going to have to keep the network running for a very long time much like Verizon. I would hate to see Sprint get boondoggled with another ancient network and keep delaying the inevitable death that we are seeing with iDEN.

 

Why are you comparing EVDO/1x to HSPA+? In 5-7 years time the network will have LTE everywhere that EVDO is available.

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I mean from a business perspective, just because LTE will be everywhere doesn't mean legacy networks wont be in service (plus since you have to have it running you may as well sell as much services on it as you can to maximize the capital you invested in it), I am saying the business case every 6 months makes less sense in CDMA networks, when you know it will come to an end. I am not talking just smartphone users but M2M, and the "internet of things" and utility requirements. The carriers make a lot of money and will make even more to come.

 

From a business perspective it doesn't make sense either. Instead of putting money into the LTE network, they would have to divert some of that to UMTS, and put UMTS on spectrum that they don't have, or take spectrum away from 1x and have customers complain about degraded service because the network is overloaded.

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I hate to keep going around and around in circles on this, but from Sprint's perspective (or from Verizon's perspective, for that matter) there's no reason to deploy W-CDMA/UMTS as a stopgap before going all-LTE in 5-8 years, once the power efficiency and signal propagation issues with VoLTE are worked out (or are offset by the greater costs of keeping CDMA equipment running). If Sprint wasn't planning to keep CDMA around for 5+ years, they would have just bolted LTE onto their existing towers and not bothered with NV.

 

Yes, 1X won't be around forever, but if anything 1X will probably be around longer than EVDO. It does what it does well, and WCDMA just isn't worth the bandwidth. And I don't see what bringing on T-Metro and its downscale clientele does for making Sprint a more competitive #3 carrier; sure you'd be rolling in spectrum but it's not at all obvious Sprint really needs it outside a few markets, where buying up local carriers or executing spectrum buys/swaps/sharing arrangements would probably be cheaper.

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T-Metro's top level plans are not that cheap. I did calculations and with EIP, I found that in lots of cases the plans for high end smartphones with unlimited service were MORE expensive than 4GB shared plans for two lines on AT&T and Verizon. Plus those two carriers have LTE in way more places than T-Mobile does. Sprint has unlimited M2M and unlimited data for $200 less over the life of the contract.

 

When I crunch the numbers for what most people will do on T-Mobile, which is take EIP, I just don't see what the big deal is.

 

Yes it's cheaper for BYOD but then AT&T is coming out with prepaid HSPA only plans in response to that market, probably with the intention of undercutting T-Mobile. I also think AT&T could discount $20 for users who add an BYOD LTE device and really undercut T-Mobile.

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So what would actually be involved in deploying EV-DO Rev. B on NV sites? Is it just a software update or would there be more to it? If its something that wouldn't require significant resources, why not do it? Even on a single channel config you'd get benefits from it on the network side and the end user would get slightly faster speeds.

 

If its a significant cost then of course don't do it, but if its fairly straightforward then what's the harm?

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So what would actually be involved in deploying EV-DO Rev. B on NV sites? Is it just a software update or would there be more to it? If its something that wouldn't require significant resources, why not do it? Even on a single channel config you'd get benefits from it on the network side and the end user would get slightly faster speeds.

 

If its a significant cost then of course don't do it, but if its fairly straightforward then what's the harm?

 

Spectrum and the fact that Sprint wants people off the EVDO network onto the LTE network so they can use the spectrum for PCS and aggregate it for LTE.

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Use the spectrum for 1X advanced and LTE. Sprint is a 3GPP contributor, actively, within the LTE standard. VoLTE will come, just be patient guys.

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Spectrum and the fact that Sprint wants people off the EVDO network onto the LTE network so they can use the spectrum for PCS and aggregate it for LTE.

. They already have the spectrum being used for rev. A. It would cost no spectrum at all.

 

It'll be a few years before they can even think about taking out the EV-DO network.

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This is a rather interesting read though, admittedly I cannot vouch for the veracity of it's contents:

 

http://denbeste.nu/c.../10/GSM3G.shtml

 

Den Beste is partially right, but largely outdated. The transition to EVDO for CDMA exhibited a lot of the same negatives that he identifies for the GSM->W-CDMA transition (which was ongoing at the time); the only real "win" for 1X -> EVDO is that because the minimum bandwidth for 1x and EVDO channels was/is narrower, carriers were likely to have enough spectrum on hand to switch on an EVDO channel while keeping 1x up. Had 3GPP had the sense to specify 1.25 MHz channels for W-CDMA, the GSM->W-CDMA issues would have been less. (And W-CDMA was able to keep updating without a completely new network for a decade, with HSPA and friends coming later.)

 

Furthermore 1X -> EVDO had one problem that wasn't true of GSM->W-CDMA/UMTS; since both GSM and UMTS allow voice and data traffic simultaneously, you can actually switch off GSM or never launch a GSM network in the first place if you're a new entrant like Three in the UK. CDMA carriers have to keep both active, since EVDV never materialized (Sprint and Verizon thought the future was in VoIP, which essentially is what VoLTE will be, so they didn't sign up). Canada's Public Mobile, which only launched last year on the PCS G block, has to have both 1X and EVDO carriers. And while you can reallocate carriers back and forth between the two, it's not as dynamic as W-CDMA allows.

 

And of course the market situation in the US is much different now; Cingular and old-AT&T merged (and eventually became AT&T again) and T-Mobile emerged from the PowerTel/VoiceStream regional networks and some others, and moved to W-CDMA as the bugs were worked out. The US market ultimately didn't pick a "winner" - it picked two. And then Verizon picked LTE over WiMax and UMB (EVDO Rev C), and the rest is history.

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CDMA carriers have to keep both active, since EVDV never materialized (Sprint and Verizon thought the future was in VoIP, which essentially is what VoLTE will be, so they didn't sign up).

 

This is all ancient history now, but this: http://connectedplanetonline.com/mag/telecom_evdv_dead/ and other articles that I've read on the subject seem to indicate that Sprint actually did want and plan to go with EV-DV but had their hand forced when Verizon went with EV-DO. Damn impatient VZW...

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