Its $80-a-month BroadbandAccess service, which begins Wednesday, is meant to compete mainly with other cell phone providers that have built their own wireless data networks.
The service promises the average user download speeds of 300 kilobits per second to 500 kilobits per second, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman said. She said that makes BroadbandAccess twice as .
"We're really responding to requests from existing customers that want to mirror more realistically the speeds they are getting on their desktop" computers, Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Andrea Linskey said.
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BroadbandAccess will be available first on the East Coast, within an area bordered by Washington, D.C.; Reston and Alexandria, Va.; and Rockville, Md. It will also be available in a Southern California region that includes San Diego, Oceanside, Escondido, Poway and El Cajon.
BroadbandAccess is likely to attract those who now use slower services from the likes of AT&T Wireless,and the nation's other major cell phone carriers, analysts believe. But Verizon may have trouble attracting traditional cable and DSL customers, at least for now. These customers are used to speeds of about two megabits per second, which Verizon's network will achieve only in "bursts," the spokeswoman said. Also, cable and DSL costs as little as $30 a month.
Cell phone service providers haveso that they can sell new services like high-speed Web access, network gaming or wireless access to office e-mails. The carriers are trying to find new sources of revenue because of a competition-driven plunge in the price of their main product: phone calls.