Still Waiting For My EVDO

Tom Hanks, is a mighty fine actor, who does such a spectacular job of playing the every-man, that one can forgive him for occasional lapse of judgement, like The Terminal. One of the most improbable yarns, Hanks plays a visitor from the Balkans who is denied a visa at the JFK Airport in New York, and he makes the terminal his home. He keeps waiting for the visa, falls in love and you know the whole story. His desperation to get to the big city is the agony I am currently feeling when it comes to EVDO.

Many folks across the country are right now enjoying the higher speeds of EVDO networks, but in San Francisco, arguably the city with highest concentration of early adopters, there is no EVDO. Last month, someone had tipped me off and said that EVDO is here in San Francisco if you can get a VZW compatible device. That clearly turned out to be a false alarm.

In my possession are two might fine EVDO devices, the Samsung i730, and Novatel’s Merlin v620 PC Card. Thanks to good folks at EVDO Coverage, I also have the driver to make the card play nice with my Powerbook. What I don’t have is the damn EVDO network. I can connect at 1xRTT speeds, and get about 75 kbps down/60 kbps up, but that’s about it. This is even more frustrating because if you head down to the San Francisco airport you will get serious taste of EVDO but that’s almost pointless if you are not traveling.

It is difficult to find out when and if Verizon is going to roll-out EVDO in the Bay Area anytime soon. Sprint folks assured me that certain parts of San Francisco – namely the financial district and shopping areas of Union Square – will have EVDO turned on by end of the month, but it means getting their PC Card. (Thankfully I reside on the outer edges of the Financial District, so I might take a gander at Sprint’s service.)

A friend from New York hearing me lament about the lack of EVDO in San Francisco was quick to quip: reason #9999 to move back to the Big Apple. I think he might be right!