Sprint yesterday officially launched EV-DO service in the US. The service, called Sprint Power Vision, claims average speeds of 400-700 Kbps and is debuting with the Sanyo MM-9000. Like Verizon's V-Cast, Sprint is pushing the high-speed data network for its entertainment value. Power Vision subscriptions start at $15 per month for unlimited access and include ABC News clips and streaming SIRIUS music channels. An upgraded $20 package adds unlimited messaging and TV channels (NFL, Fox, etc). A premium $25 package adds more TV stations like ESPN and Discovery.
Sprint also launched Sprint Music Store, the first over-the-air music download service in the US. Users can purchase songs for $2.50 each from a selection of 300,000 and download the tracks directly to their handset. Downloaded songs can later be transferred to a PC. This is a great idea, but the price is rather high and the tracks require quite a bit of DRM software to play on a PC. As this review points out, Sprint also missed out on a major incentive: the ability to use downloaded songs as ringtones. -Eli