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EVDO is pricey, but the advantages add up

Robert Scoble works through the numbers to show that paying for 3G connectivity, such as EVDO or Cingular’s EDGE service, can make sense–especially if you travel and want to stay connected.

Here’s what I’d like to see with EVDO: I’d like bundling opportunities. I’m such a strong believer in EVDO (and similar high-speed wireless connectivity), that I want to purchase it for the two other people I work with. I think it will make all of us more productive. We’re a small business; I travel; Our connection goes down; One among us likes to work in coffee shops; And I believe over time, being connected more of the time reinforces many of the most valuable parts of Tablet PCs.

The reason I don’t just pick up a couple more EVDO cards and two more $80/month contracts is because….uh….I’m too cheap. I’m almost there though. Almost.

Truth is, psychologically it was hard enough for me to decide to purchase an EVDO card and then sign up for the $80/month service just for me. It is expensive. However, each time I travel; each time I lose connectivity or can’t get WiFi connectivity at a hotel, airport, shuttle bus (yes, EVDO can work great in a taxi too), or conference, I’m so glad I have it. Like Robert, the numbers can work out.

Here’s what I’d really like to see from the wireless providers: Give me a chance to bundle. What about adding an additional EVDO “account” to my contract for $30/month? I’ll pay full price for the cards. I can handle that. It’s committing to another $80/month times two that makes me uneasy.

Sharing the EVDO card is the only solution in the meantime. It’s not the ideal solution though. We each could use an EVDO connection.

I’m expecting that when Intel steps into the game and integrates WiMax into its chipsets that the world will change again. Intel expects the adoption rate of WiMAX devices to outpace the growth of WiFi. I do too. Actually, I can’t wait. I’m ready for it now. There may be lots of market positioning now with competing technologies, but when tens of millions of notebooks have WiMAX, the providers will adjust. Quickly. They’ll have to. Scratch that. They’ll want to. Because that’s where I’ll be spending my money and I’m sure they’ll like a slice of it.

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