With LTE a few years out yet
, Alltel needs something to get it over the 3.5G hump -- and seeing how it's presently a CDMA carrier, you can pretty much guess where this is going. Sure enough, Verizon's newest partner in crime has announced that the rollout of its EV-DO Rev. A upgrade is now underway, promising a bump in downlink speeds from 400-700kbps on the existing Rev. 0 network to somewhere between 600kbps and 1.4Mbps. Uplink speeds are where Rev. A really shines, though, blazing as much as ten times faster than it did before -- 800kbps on a good day with bursts of up to 1.8Mbps. Two data cards are being offered to take advantage of the service -- one from Huawei and one from UTStarcom -- while compatible handsets currently include the HTC PPC6800
. The rollout is targeted for "select markets" right now -- Charlotte, New Orleans, Phoenix and Tampa among a total of 18 -- with overall EV-DO coverage continuing to expand as well; Alltel's targeting 82 percent of its footprint to be upgraded by year's end.