Verizon Wireless has launched its Express Network, covering regions in Virginia and Maine. The service will enable laptops to connect to the Internet at 40-60 kilobits a second, a similar speed to dial-up modems. The launch is Verizon’s first step towards providing a 3G network in the US.
High prices and hardware limitations have combined to give the Verizon service mixed reviews. Customers using Express Network will need a laptop and either a $160 high-speed phone and connection or a $300 wireless modem smart card. The high price means that business customers are likely to be the major users.
The mobile industry is racing to provide 3G services. Verizon is taking an early lead by not waiting for 3G phones. However, it does plan to make the cell phones available as soon as they are ready, it is currently evaluating the prototypes.