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Cingular Expands 3G

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While Verizon and Sprint are busy in an EVDO Rev A standoff, Cingular is occupied with expanding its 3G network. Cingular says it now offers 3G in “more than 160 markets, including most of the top 100 major cities in the country.” We’ve been following Cingular’s 3G rollout over the past few months, including when they said they had lit up Northern California.

For Cingular, 3G is its HSDPA/UMTS network that has average download data speeds between 400 to 700 kbps. But Cingular says:

“in areas where the 3G network is not available, customers will automatically receive service on the company’s EDGE network.”

We were wondering how often users are relegated to the EDGE network on cell phones in markets where Cingular’s 3G is supposed to be live? We asked Cingular and they said users know they’re on the 3G network because the 3G icon will only appear on the mobile screen in the UMTS/HSDPA network. Simple enough.

We’ve been using a 3G-compatible phone (LG CU500) over Cingular’s network around the Bay Area where there is supposed to be coverage, and it doesn’t seem all that blazing fast to us — though the phone shows the 3G icon. If you’re using a cell phone over Cingular’s 3G service, tell us how it’s working out.

17 Responses to “Cingular Expands 3G”

  1. RF Engineer

    To the previous poster about wilshire. There is 3G coverage there, it’s just on a fringe location so the phones will prefer 2G since it’s stronger. If you locked your device onto 3G, you could get on just fine.

  2. Ok, well I was just in a Cingular Store in Wilshire. I picked a store that was well within the supposed 3G coverage.

    I went in there and looked at my laptop and I was not receiving 3G.

    I asked the rep why I didn’t have my damn fireball and he said that I’m probably not gonna get it here. I then asked him about the coverage map Cingular has up and he said it was stupid they put that thing up. It is more of what WILL BE covered.

    So then my next question was, so if it’s future coverage, why is Cingular touting it as coverage NOW?

    Both the rep and I concluded that Cingular was just lying. I thanked him for not lying to me like the Technical Support people.

    However, he did tell me that Cingular plans to get 3G out by the end of the year in LA. 3.5G would then be worked on shortly after that.

    He speculated that the biggest problem behind the slow rollout is because AT&T wants to brand everything under AT&T so a lot of back track work needs to be done. I don’t actually understand that part though.

    Anyway, I hope this helps with some of the LA people. Don’t fall into the trap. Test your areas with the EVDO providers first before you try and jump into Cingular/AT&T.

    They’re such assholes. I hope I can use this to get out of my 2 year contract.

  3. The people saying LA is lit up are probably working for AT&T/Cingular.

    Around Good Samaritan Hospital @ 6th and Lucas all through Echo Park and a good portion of the ride down the 5 Freeway and most of the 101 after Studio City and Hollywood are still on Edge.

    The only places I got 3G were right at Universal Studios and the section of Hollywood that follows a little after that. I also got 3G next to the Burbank Airport around the Hollywood Way exit.

    LA Coverage is patchy as hell. I actually ran to the store to buy this damn service because I saw that coverage in LA is mostly Blue– Meaning there’s supposedly 3G in most places. But that is a complete lie.

    I’ve called it in to Tech support like 4x today and each time, they said their coverage maps shows holes right where I work. I find it hard to believe it’s only right where I work especially when I drove around the block. For those of you who don’t know Echo Park and Goodsam Hospital are right in the heart of downtown. Next, I’m going to check the Financial District which is right next to Echo Park.

    That coverage map for LA is a complete fucking lie. Don’t buy into it. Make sure you got a friend who has a phone and test it out before you get your service in. I’m going to give them a month to see if they’ll get the 3G tower up, but knowing Cingular, they’ll probably lag like hell on it.

    Even the iPhone won’t support 3G. This really doesn’t bode well for any of us. It probably means they will take too long to roll it out completely if a company like Apple is forgoing giving support to 3G.

    I saw we make a website to honestly track the 3G coverage in our cities. This crap from Cingular has gone on long enough.

  4. wixostrix

    I have a Cingular 8525 and live in the Bay Area. Mostly everywhere I go I get 3G and boy is it fast. If your familiar with BART, I get 3G connection throughout pretty much the whole line. Only problem is inside my department using it as a wireless modem, get it to a certain spot, perfect, but better not touch it. Hahah!

  5. Timothy Stinson

    I have the Blackjack and have been to Phoenix AZ and Baton Rouge LA where 3g is available. It was great, just waiting for OKC to get it now.

  6. I use the LG CU400 and the speeds around Atlanta are great, much faster than my T-mobile Dash. If you have the 3G icon on the screen, then you fly through the net. I’ve ordered the Blackjack because the LG doesnt have internet sharing like the Dash does.

  7. Tested it quickly at LAX using a 8525/TyTN. Worked fine with descent speeds. I’ve been using it in Baltimore/DC area for the past few months and it’s been OK too. I get speed tests up to 900kbps, but it seems to fluctuate (especially when i really need it.. hehe) I also got to test it in NY and I seem to have the best reponse/speed/consistency there.

  8. I have a blackjack in the SF Bay area and it rocks. Speeds are blazing fast and connectivity hasn’t been an issue from downtown SF to Silicon Valley and throughout the East Bay.

  9. I have blackjack in metro Atlanta and seems to be covered decently well with pretty good speeds, just got phone so have not traveled much with it though. I live a good 20 miles perimeter from the city also and still get pretty decent coverage also.

  10. Here in DC, and traveling occasionally to Kansas City, I have a Blackjack and I have been getting as high as 900kbps download speeds (on dslreports speed test and on the phone and as a modem for my laptop. Sweet.

  11. I am in the Seattle area and also a Blackjack user. In the city its pretty good, and from my office and home, I get pretty good speeds. When I travel it has varied, but for the kinds of places I have been in, acceptable. Could be more consistent, but it will do.

  12. I have a Samsung Blackjack with 3G service and I’m in Dallas, TX. The 3G service works pretty well but I travel a fair bit around Texas and the minute I step a foot out of Dallas, it’s back to Enhanced ‘E’. Still works perfectly fine for emails, google maps, etc.

    It’ll do but it could be more consistent.