Report: Sprint adding EV-DO to next femtocell

Sprint Nextel is poised to release a new femtocell product that sports 3G data speeds, following rival AT&T Mobility into the market, according to recently released FCC documents.

Airvana's CDMA femtocellThe documents, according to an IDG News Service report, show Sprint has tapped Airvana to make the latest version of its Airave device. The new femtocell will support EV-DO data connection speeds, and will also include a port for landline VoIP service. The documents were first unearthed by the blog Engadget.

The news comes as little surprise; Airvana won a master purchase agreement contract with Sprint to supply the operator with 3G femtocells, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in July.

The current version of Sprint's Airave device, which is made by Samsung, was released in summer of 2008 and supports only CDMA 1x service. A Sprint spokeswoman, Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, declined to comment on the femtocell product. "Sprint is constantly working to bring our customers a strong portfolio of products and services," she told FierceWireless. "This includes a variety of form factors, operating systems, price points, features and appearance."

AT&T unveiled its femtocell product, which it calls a 3G MicroCell, at the CTIA Wireless 2010 conference last month. The 3G MicroCell was developed with Cisco and will be available for $149.99. Sprint currently charges $99.99 for its Airave device, plus an "Enhanced Coverage" fee of $4.99 per month.

Verizon Wireless also has a femtocell that supports CDMA 1x service, called the Network Extender. "We have not announced a 3G femtocell product yet, although we have said in the past that we expect to offer a product like it in the future," Verizon spokesman Tom Pica told FierceWireless.

For more:
- see this IDG News Service article

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