Monday, November 29, 2004

Cingular Wireless Announces 3G Plans

Cingular Wireless announced its plans to deploy 3G UMTS with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks in a number of major urban and suburban markets across the U.S. beginning in 2005. The company expects to offer 3G in most major markets by the end of 2006. The upgraded network will offer average data speeds between 400-700 kbps, bursting to several Mbps. Currently, Cingular's EDGE nationwide wireless data network supports average data speeds up to 135 kbps. In the near future, UMTS devices will be backward compatible with EDGE. Cingular's recent acquisition of AT&T Wireless provided the company with the spectrum necessary to build the UMTS/HSDPA networks.

Cingular said intends to make the high-speed network available to not only its regional and rural roaming partners but also enable regional and rural carriers to deploy UMTS services on their networks as well. The UMTS/HSDPA capability will enable simultaneous voice and data sessions, so a customer can use a handset to make a call at the same time they're checking e-mail or browsing the Internet.

Cingular has signed agreements with Ericsson , Lucent Technologies and Siemens to develop and deliver the infrastructure required for a broad-scale deployment of an expanded 3G UMTS/HSDPA network. In addition, Cingular's strategic handset providers -- Nokia, Motorola and LG -- have committed to delivery of competitive UMTS devices in Q4 of 2005. Cingular also signed an agreement with Nokia to enhance its existing GSM/GPRS/EDGE network and possibly support the deployment of its 3G UMTS network. Financial terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

  • Earlier this year, AT&T Wireless launched the country's first commercial UMTS wireless networks in Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Cingular will continue to offer UMTS services in those six markets.

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