Sprint today took the wraps off of their new data roaming offerings. PCS Intel first reported on data roaming additions in prior PRL updates, but today Sprint confirmed that data roaming would become a major offering off-network.
Alltel and Sprint have entered into a 10-year agreement to offer shared network services across both their networks. While this will save Sprint and Alltel on voice roaming, it also will offer Sprint and Alltel customers access to each other’s network 3G services, including EV-DO.
Sprint data roaming will be available at no additional charge over existing data rates, however, many Sprint customers will have to purchase new phones, as prior devices have been programmed to not anticipate data roaming. Most current phones have a debug toggle option to enable data roaming, which while disabled in-firmware, could be turned on via a firmware over-the-air (FOTA) update.
The agreement between the two carriers will take effect July 1st. This development will also pave the way for Sprint to potentially deploy international data roaming, similar to Verizon Wireless, in the near future.