Update 2: We’re being cited by many high-traffic sites, and in many cases, incorrectly. Tampa and NYC are actually slated to be launched later this month, along with several other cities. The SF and Sacramento delays are just indicative of problems in many markets that will delay the launch of network-wide status. The higher the 2G phone usage, and the lower the 3G deployments, the more the problems Verizon is having.
The delay of the MDAIII and LG VX8000 are fluid in nature. VZW pushed a sort of a panic button and delayed both to the middle of 2005, but since they are done, Verizon most likely will launch them sooner than that by a lot, if not bump them back up to near-immediate release. We don’t have information that this action has been taken, but, like what was said, the situation is fluid.
The problem is, EV-DO in non-developed markets could seriously impact voice call capacity. Imagine if hundreds of people got these units in SF and Sacramento (and other similar markets) where EV-DO is not completely stable, and started wreaking havoc in these markets.
While Quality of Service controls are in EV-DO to allow each device to have a share of a tower’s bandwidth, EV-DO takes call capacity from each tower. While 3G towers are not significantly effected, the combination of a large amount of 2G devices, and the added capacity drain of EV-DO is proving to be too much in markets, especially where there is a deficiency of spectrum in major markets. Verizon is currently having shortages in terms of EV-DO tower equipment, however, the greater issue is not enough spectrum to feed the needs of 2G voice, 3G data, and 3G EV-DO data.
Update: Just to clarify, Verizon has installed EV-DO units in these areas, they just have not completed enough of an installation to asses it enough of a coverage map to validate it as an official EV-DO city. Tampa and New York City are in similar positions, though they are still on-course to complete launching by the end of the year.
Internal documents from Verizon show that their EV-DO expansion plans called for their next deployments to be full coverage of the Bay Area (San Francisco region) as well as the Sacramento valley. This would have corresponded with the launch of the LG VX8000 and XDA III EV-DO handsets.
However, Verizon has decided to halt deployment of EV-DO in both areas, and is considering delaying the launch of both handsets. Verizon cites internally the lack of necessary resources in both tower equipment (shortages in supply), as well as shortage of spectrum necessary to implement EV-DO over the existing 1xRTT network.
Both areas are widely contested regions of 3G territory. AT&T Wireless currently provides 384k W-CDMA access to the Bay Area, and the Sacramento Valley is a probable launch area for Sprint’s EV-DO service.
Verizon currently projects new launch dates of the LG VX8000, and both markets for EV-DO in the middle of 2005. The XDA III can easily be modified to have EV-DO disabled, and may launch without EV-DO enabled.