US operator Alltel has announced plans to upgrade its CDMA network, despite the likelihood of it falling under the control of Verizon Wireless by year-end and a long-term plan to move to GSM-based technology. Alltel said yesterday it will upgrade its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO networks to the faster mobile broadband Revision A (Rev A) version this year. Rev A technology offers data rates up to 1.4 Mb/s downstream and 350 to 500 kb/s upstream. The operator believes the upgrade will enable customers to upload files five to ten times faster than before. Verizon Wireless has stated it plans to close its US$28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel, announced earlier this month, by the end of the year. Last month, Alltel joined Verizon in committing to LTE – part of the GSM family of technologies – as its technology evolutionary path for next-generation mobile communications. Rival CDMA operators China Telecom, Telus Mobility and KDDI have also been linked with a similar move.

Meanwhile, Washington Post reports that (in an interview with the Arkansas News Bureau) Alltel’s Scott Ford revealed that, during his tenure as the chief executive of the fifth-largest US operator, he tried to buy Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless. Such moves were reportedly the result of Ford’s belief that an operator must be nationwide in order to be relevant in today’s mobile industry.