Exclusive: Sprint to speed up wireless access

High-speed wireless access won't be available for at least another year, but bandwidth-hungry business users can have 56K hors d'oeuvres this summer from Sprint
Written by Richard Shim, Contributor

In a call to corporate customers, Sprint this summer will offer business users 56K wireless access using compression technology, sources said.

Officials from Sprint confirmed the rumour but would not provide further details about the company's plans.

According to analysts, Sprint's move represents an attempt to gain entry into the lucrative business market, an area where its presence is considerably smaller than among consumers.

Users are expected to dial up a server with a cell phone using the Sprint network and connect it to a PDA or a notebook for downloading email and basic browsing.

Competitors are currently peaking at a 19.2K transfer rate and have plans to offer higher speeds once next generation technologies become available.

Sources told ZDNet News Sprint is assuming that the dearth of applications consumers can use with the somewhat higher access will discourage them from jumping to the service and overwhelming the network. By contrast, business users are more likely to use it for getting email.

Analysts said they expect the incremental improvements in wireless technology to be a good play for Sprint.

"...56K access will ease users into the idea of wireless broadband, and because Sprint will be the first brand that they associate with high-speed access, it establishes them early, giving them an advantage," said Dataquest analyst Bryan Prohm.

Prohm said the incremental improvement will also help fickle consumers better understand the limitations of high speed access and be more forgiving with their carrier.

Check out ZDNet's Interactive Broadband Guide

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