At the moment Whispernet is free – there is no indication from Amazon on whether it’ll stay free forever – however it is a reasonable assumption that Amazon has some sort of arrangement with Sprint that allows for a certain amount of internet usage by Kindle owners. There must be some part of the cost of books, magazines etc. that accounts for delivery costs over WhisperNet, and perhaps also for use of Whispernet.
To get an in-depth look at WhisperNet coverage in your city or state, try out the Amazon Kindle Coverage Map. This seems to be the same as the Sprint EVDO coverage map i had listed earlier – however this one is the official link. Also updated that post. Please do note that Montana has little to no Whispernet coverage, and several states have very little WhisperNet coverage.
Alongside the release of Kindle 2 there’s a much wider WhisperNet –
Expanded WhisperNet Coverage – It covers a lot more areas now – although this falls into the category of a general improvement for both Kindle 1 and 2. Check the Kindle 2.0 wireless coverage map. Also there’s Whispersync that lets you synchronize across various Kindles and soon across various mobiel devices in addition to Kindles.
Click on “Data, Email, and Multimedia” in the stuff on the right. This will show you a NEW map with orange, grey, green areas.
Put in your zipcode, click “check the coverage” – This will show you details for your Zip Code.
Check for orange areas on the map. Kindle Definitely works in these Areas.
For Green Areas kindle MIGHT work, although slower – The orange is the high speed EVDO coverage, the green is the lower speed 1xrtt coverage. One user on the forums wrote: In the green areas, book delivery works fine (a user on the forum said he’s used it succesfully), just slower – it takes maybe 3 minutes instead of one. Also: Green Areas in Missoula, Montana don’t work. Apparently the whole States of Alaska and Montana don’t get WhisperNet.
I don’t know about other areas. I’d recommend confirming with Amazon in all cases, and especially if you have a critical situation/need.