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Novatel punts out wireless CDPD Palm modem

US packet data price war looms

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Europeans may take great glee at the fragmented US mobile phone coverage, but the marvelous always-on CDPD packet data service is an exception.

Even though it's based on analog technology that Europe turned off ages ago, CDPD has been a measured success, thanks to shrewd all-you-can eat pricing. And CDPD's 19.6kbps speed works out comparable to the first 2.5G GPRS services in practice

Best known for its GPS gear, Novatel pitched in today with a $369 wireless CDPD modem for the new Palm m500 series. Business partner Omnisky is currently discounting its Palm modem heavily: you can pick one up for $69 provided you sign up to the $39.95 service for a year.

It's going to get very interesting once AT&T Wireless starts to roll out GPRS network in earnest: it launched into Seattle a couple of weeks ago. However, AT&TW is pursuing the same suicidal pricing model that the European networks have adopted, and CDPD is going to stick around for some time yet. ®

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