What is an EVDO Phone?

N.M. Shanley

A cellular phone that uses evolution data optimized (EVDO) wireless broadband technology is called an EVDO phone. EVDO, also known as evolution data only, is used for the data transmission between a cell phone and a transmission tower. It is used for accessing email and web browsing on a cell phone. EVDO technology does not process voice transmissions.

EVDO is used for data transmission between a transmission tower and cell phone.
EVDO is used for data transmission between a transmission tower and cell phone.

The most popular wireless networks include the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). EVDO runs on CDMA networks. While CDMA is available from the majority of United States cell phone providers, GSM remains more popular in the rest of the world. EVDO phones are readily available in the United States, Canada, and Japan, but are less popular in other parts of the world, including Europe.

Cell towers recieve and transmit signals than include information such as dialed phone numbers.
Cell towers recieve and transmit signals than include information such as dialed phone numbers.

EVDO availability changes as often as technology is updated. Not all cell phones on CDMA networks will pick up EVDO service when it becomes available. Each device must be EVDO-compatible to work on the system. Some users may need to purchase an upgraded EVDO phone if EVDO becomes available on the network.

The advantages of an EVDO phone include faster connection, download, and upload speeds compared to phones without this technology. To achieve these high speeds, EVDO technology breaks data into small pieces called packets. Each packet then travels separately through the network using the fastest route available. These information packets are then reassembled at the destination point.

Speed is essential when downloading large amounts of data using a cell phone. With its upgraded speed, an EVDO phone is well-suited to support mobile broadband applications such as music downloads, downloading large email attachments, and video streaming. An EVDO phone's speed will be limited in areas where digital EVDO service is not available.

Some EVDO phones can also be connected to a laptop to enable wireless web surfing from the laptop. This practice is known as tethering. Software may need to be downloaded to the computer to enable tethering. When tethered to a computer, an EDVO phone acts as a modem. Tethering usually incurs an additional fee charged by the wireless service provider.

Like most current technology, EVDO continues to evolve to provide better, faster service. As of October 2009, the most current version of EDVO was EVDO Rev. A. As wireless providers offer more robust services, the networks used to deliver them, such as EVDO, will most likely be upgraded as well.

An EVDO phone is used for accessing email and web browsing on a cell phone.
An EVDO phone is used for accessing email and web browsing on a cell phone.

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Discussion Comments


@Testy - I feel your pain. Using smart phones can become very addicting. Trust me, you are not the only one out there who spends way too much time on their cell phones.

I have an Android phone, and I was on that thing all day, every day. I decided that I needed to change my habits, so I deleted some apps on my phone, thinking that it would force me to spend less time on it.

That did not work, so I decided to use only half of the EVDO capabilities, meaning I now only use my phone for reading and sending emails. It was a drastic step, but having the internet available on my phone was turning me into somebody I was not proud of.

If you do not want to get rid of your EVDO technology all together, then I would suggest changing your data plan. If your mobile service provider allows it, you can limit the amount of data you can stream on your phone each month. By doing this, you are not able to spend hours a day surfing the internet on the phone without paying expensive over usage fees.

I hope this advice helps. Good luck!


Help! I think I am addicted to using my smart phone!

I recently got a Blackberry, about six months ago I think. This is my first smart phone, as I have never had internet or email access on my previous cell phones.

At first, I was loving my new device. I had never before been so prompt at answering emails, and I loved being able to check the weather or news whenever and wherever I felt like it.

I have an unlimited data plan with my wireless provider, so there is no limit to the amount of web pages I visit or emails I receive a month.

But these past few weeks, I have been starting to notice that I spend way too much time staring at the little screen in front of me. It has gotten so bad that even my six year old daughter screamed at me "Daddy, put your cell phone down, I want you to read me a book!"

I like the access that my new phone gives me, but I am afraid it is taking up all my attention. Does anyone have any advice as to how I can have better control on how and when I use my phone?


Wow, I learned so much from reading this article. Thanks so much for writing it. I had no idea what technology went into powering my smart phone.

What especially drew my attention was the fact that EVDO phones break down data into smaller pieces when it is traveled through the network. That explains perfectly why when I open a large email on my Blackberry cell phone it loads the email in smaller chunks.

Perhaps I need to get another phone, or switch service providers. It bothers me when I have to wait a long time for my emails to load.

Thanks again for the article, it was very helpful.

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