Thursday, August 22, 2002 - Personal Technology: Sprint's PCS Vision Network Is Fast, but Also Quite Pricey "A few months back, I tested Verizon's similar higher-speed network using a laptop card made by Sierra Wireless. I prefer the Sprint experience. For one thing, the Novatel card used by Sprint encloses its antenna in a sealed compartment that protrudes from the laptop. The Verizon card has a hinged, vertical antenna that can break off and get lost. Also, Verizon drops your network connection after five minutes of inactivity, while Sprint keeps you connected for at least two hours, allowing e-mail to arrive automatically.
The big problem with PCS Vision is pricing. With the Novatel card, Sprint offers consumers two plans: $39.99 a month for 20 megabytes of data, or $79.99 a month for 70 megabytes. Anything more you download costs two-tenths of a cent per kilobyte -- about $2 a megabyte. You can buy an extra 50 megabytes a month for $40.
But this pricing scheme is absurd, and financially risky for the consumer. Who totes up how many megabytes Web surfing or e-mail consumes?
The PCS Vision network and Novatel card work well. But until Sprint offers flat-rate pricing so users know the costs, I doubt the service will be as popular as it could be."
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