Vésper has signed an agreement with Nortel to upgrade its CDMA network to 3G technology. The deal, announced at Futurecom, is worth 20 million US Dollars for the São Paulo metropolitan network alone. The platform chosen is 1xEV-DO and startup is scheduled for January 2003. Vésper has also signed a letter of intention with Ericsson to install 3G in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro for about the same amount of dollars, with commercial startup in the second quarter of next year. The upgrade will fully leverage existing networks and optimize past investment, says Luiz Kaufmann, CEO of Vésper. GSM has been ruled out because ?it?s too slow compared with 1xEV-DO?. Vésper originally planned to evolve to 1xRTT but has now decided to skip 2.5G and go straight to 3G. The CLEC will be the first telco in Latin America to launch a commercial 3G service. User rates haven?t been disclosed but are expected to be competitive with ADSL and cable. Cristiano Amon, Vésper?s executive vice president for technology, says 1xRTT can achieve up to 144 kbps, while 1xEV-DO is capable of 2.4 Mbps, or 16 times faster than 1xRTT and as much as 165 times faster than IS-95. 3G enables wireless data transmission using fixed and mobile networks, wireless transfer of large files, high-quality display of pictures and video, Internet access and broadband services.