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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Verizon Wireless LLC said yesterday it has rolled out its "third generation" Express Network to thirteen more US cities, meaning it can offer higher-speed mobile data services to 72 million people and a third of its own user base.

Express Network is based on 1XRTT, the technology that allows high bit rates over CDMA networks. 1X networks are sometimes referred to as 3G, but mostly as 2.5G - interim-bandwidth services before full broadband 3G at up to 2Mbps is deployed.

Verizon's service offers download speeds of up to 144Kbps, but on average between 40Kbps and 60Kbps, about the same as the average copper dialup connection. Users access the services via the Kyocera 2235 phone with Mobile Office kit, or by using the Sierra Wireless Inc AirCard 555 PC card in their portable computers.

Customers currently on a Verizon voice plan of $35 a month and up can get the service for an extra $30 per month. The company also has an enterprise pricing plan based on data transfer - $35 for 10MB, $55 for 20MB and so on up to 150MB per month.

Express Network, targeted mainly at business users, is now also available in Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Chicago, St Louis, Dallas, Houston, Miami, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Lakeland, Key West and Portland.

Ten other metropolitan areas in California and on the East Coast have been wirelessed up since January. The company hopes to have 50% coverage by May, and 75% coverage by the end of the year.

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