Hoping to squeeze a little more life out of the world's legacy (read: non-3G) GSM networks -- and there are many -- Ericsson has announced that it will deploy the recently-ratified "EDGE Evolution" protocol by 2009. That in itself isn't terribly interesting; after all, 2009 is a long way off yet. What is interesting, though, is that EDGE Evolution will require nothing more than a software upgrade to existing Ericsson network hardware (much the same as the original EDGE) and promises downstream speeds as high as 1Mbps, making it speedy enough to hang with UMTS and EV-DO Rev. 0. Remember how quickly AT&T Wireless (the old AT&T Wireless, that is) and T-Mobile were able to take their EDGE networks national once they started deployment? If it gains traction, EDGE Evolution should be able to roll out every bit as quickly, bringing 3G speeds to areas that would otherwise go without for many years to come. Of course, compatible handsets are another matter entirely, but manufacturers have until 2009 to get the ball rolling. Let's get to work, folks.

[Via Phone Scoop]