Mobile broadband junkies just got another shot of endorphins from Nextel Communications
Consistent with its roots, Nextel embraced an alternative technology from privately held Flarion Technologies to deliver speedy bits to its mobile customers. The technology, called Flash-OFDM, was developed by some creative minds at Lucent
The announcement comes as several U.S. competitors are also rolling ahead with wireless broadband initiatives. AT&T Wireless
Nextel is also upping the ante on competing offerings -- its technology claims typical downstream speeds (from the Internet to the user) of a whopping 1.5 Mbps. That's about three times faster than Verizon's Qualcomm
More importantly, however, is that the typical uplink speed Nextel claims is 375 kbps, far faster than the 40 to 60 kbps offered even by Verizon. The uplink speed can make a big difference to users who transfer large files or email attachments while mobile, or who use applications such as video conferencing. Competing offerings that are weak in the uplink speeds struggle with large uploads and bit-intensive peer-to-peer communication applications.
If and when Nextel goes nationwide with the service, it will offer yet another option for consumers and business customers. The competition will also help drop prices further -- $80 per month is currently the norm for unlimited wireless broadband. However, Nextel has differentiated itself with a multitiered pricing scheme that ranges from $35 to $75 per month. On cheaper plans, users opt for slower speeds or limits on total data consumption.
With free and paid Wi-Fi also expanding, reasonably priced broadband wireless services may not be too far off for mainstream American consumers.
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Fool contributor Dave Mock's endorphin levels have been known to spike at the mention of Scooby Snacks. He owns shares of Nextel and Lucent.