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Sprint builds a faster cell phone

/ Source: The Associated Press

Sprint Nextel Corp. is upgrading one of its cell phone models so that it can connect to a faster data network, doubling its download speeds and boosting upload speeds by about eight times.

Both Sprint and Verizon Wireless operate so-called EV-DO Rev. A networks, but used them only for laptop cards. Their fastest phones used the older and slower EV-DO Rev. 0 network.

Sprint said Monday it was releasing a software update for the Mogul phone, made by HTC Corp. of Taiwan, that will enable the phone to connect at Rev. A speeds. Downloads speeds should be 600 kilobits per second to 1,400 kbps, up from a range of 400 kbps to 700 kbps with Rev. 0. It will be capable of uploads of 350 to 500 kbps, up from 50 kbps to 70 kbps.

Sprint said its broadband network now covers 234 million people, and the vast majority of it has been upgraded to EV-DO Rev. A, short for Evolution-Data Optimized Revision A.

The Mogul is a smart phone that runs Windows Mobile software and can be used as a modem for a laptop. It costs $199.99 with a two-year contract and went on sale in June. The software update will be available immediately from HTC's site.

Verizon Wireless has not announced a phone using Rev. A. Spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the main advantage of Rev. A is higher upload speeds, which is important to laptop users but less so for cell-phone users.

AT&T Inc. already sells phones that use its fastest network technology, known as HSDPA, for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. Its listed download speed is the same as EV-DO Rev. A, with a slightly higher upload speed.