Cingular 3G Almost Arrives


Cingular has finally launched its 3g service, hoping that it will be able to attract some of the big spending customers who are looking for constant-always on connectivity. It is not cheap, and will set you back by $60 a month for unlimited use. (Unlimited, up until the company decides is just too much!) Without a phone plan, it will cost $80 a month. The UMTS/HSDPA services will eventually offer speeds of between 400 to 700 kilobits per second, which will make it comparable to what Verizon Wireless or Sprint have to offer. (The press release is confusing because they talk about UMTS and HSDPA, and there is a clear speed difference!)

Right now the service is available in 16 cities including Austin (TX.), Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland (OR.), Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA.), Seattle, Tacoma (Wash.) and Washington D.C. No New York for now! There are two laptop card options – one from Sierra Wireless (AC860) and one from Novatel Wireless (U730). No other devices are available right now, which tells me the company was looking for some pre-Holiday sizzle than any real reason to roll out the service.

Also folks, don’t get too excited and start signing up for the services if you own European 3G phones. They will simply not work in the US. Here is why! (Also read Daily Wireless recap of the news.)

However, for those looking for connectivity, I think it is no point going for the low-speed UMTS service that has been announced. A basic $20 a month EDGE connection from T-Mobile is better value for money, and will pretty much get the job done – that is getting emails and some basic web-surfing. Bundled with the $20-a-month T-Mobile WiFi, you might be able to extract more value for your dollars. I mean how many times do you really check your email/or check out your RSS feed when driving at 50 mph. Of course, most people have different opinions on this matter :-)



We bought the cingular cards and service for my son in dc and my daughter in San Diego, both areas supposedly with 3g service. My daughter has had great service in San Diego but my son was unable to get a consistent 3g signal in DC where he was supposed to be able to get it. His signal varied from Edge to 3g to mostly non-existent in the heart of DC. We are going to return my son’s air card-numerous calls to Cingular have not been helpful.

Stil Waiting....

So those paying Cingular the same monthly fee as Verizon & Sprint are getting 5x slower service until Cingular is ready to launch in NYC?..Which could be at the end of 2006??

What a rip-off, at least charge less for EDGE being Cingular customers(in the blacklisted areas)might jump ship waiting for an answer.

Good cause to dump the current Laptop Connect contract.

Stil Waiting....

This is part of what I received when I asked a rep at Cingular:

Fri 1/6/2006 2:51 PM
“Had I known you used our service in NYC I would have told you upfront the NYC metro will launch this year. I do know the month, but I can’t disclose this now due to proprietary reasons. In the meantime, when I can provide with a launch date I will.”


If T-Mobile had signal worth a damn at my house, maybe I’d go with them. Cingular’s not a lot better, but it’s way more consistent.

Sachin Kotwani

Om, have you had the chance to review Sprint’s Powervision service? I believe it starts at $15/month for new sign-ups (might be cheaper if you have had the older Vision service for a while). From other reviews I’ve read average speeds are around 700Kbps, and you can even use your phone as a modem for your laptop. I had the chance to check out the Samsung A940 at the store, and while pages loaded quite fast on the WAP browser, latency was still an issue when compared to regular broadband, I wonder if the same problem exists if the device is used as a modem.

Om Malik

i read the press release, and its not clear if its hsdpa. i think it is confusing in the way they write the higher speeds in 2006. i tried calling them and well waiting for a phone call back from them.

Jesse Kopelman

I believe it is now HSDPA in 15 of the 16 cities — sorry Detroit.

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