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Heigh Ho, High Speed!

While most of the domestic mobile-phone world remains mired in second-generation technology--slow speeds, dropped calls, and few features--a whole new universe of robust high-speed data transmission networking is beginning to take shape across the U.S. landscape.

There are so many technology players in this alphabet-soup market that it's impossible to follow them without a scorecard: cdma2000, GSM, EDGE, EV-DO, GPRS, FLASH, and WCDMA, to name the most prominent. They all have one common trait in that their promoters all sound like Muhammad Ali in his prime: "I am the greatest!"

But which one really is the greatest?

The jury won't be in for some time, but one of the main events is already underway in the end-user marketplace between Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless.

Verizon got into the marketplace first last September with its BroadbandAccess high-speed data network, introduced in San Diego and Washington, D.C. Two months later, AT&T Wireless unveiled its version with its Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) for the entire North American market.

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