Consumers, who spearheaded adoption of EV-DO when services were rolled out in South Korea in 2002, are likely to follow behind businesses in the U.S., analysts and service providers say. A recent survey of consumers by In-Stat/MDR showed 3G multimedia services, especially streaming video, as a strong potential draw for consumers, according to In-Stat analyst Clint Wheelock. Streaming audio and multi-player games also could catch on, he says.
EV-DO seems to be living up to its promised speed, according to Wheelock, who said he tested the service in San Diego and consistently experienced Verizon's estimated speed.
However, another In-Stat analyst says he thinks real-world results will vary. "Any of these speeds that they (advertise) are going to be under the best conditions, or good conditions, at least," says Alan Nogee. Variations in performance based on location and the number of users on the network will be at least as great as they have been on the 1x network, he predicts. "At least for the initial years, the coverage won't be all that fantastic," he says.
Other high-speed wireless services, particularly Wi-Fi hot spots, might pose some competition, but carriers would be wise to offer them as complements to EV-DO, Nogee and other analysts say.
"These carriers want to be your wireless provider whether it's Wi-Fi or cellular. . . . Eventually it'll be transparent to the user," Nogee says.