Cingular Wireless to Deliver 2.5G Wireless Services to California
Cingular Wireless today announced at the iWireless World Conference that its GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) wireless data service - Cingular Wireless Internet Express - is now available in California and Reno, Nevada.
"GPRS provides consumers, as well as business users, with an improved wireless Internet experience with 'always on' access to information," said Stephen Carter, CEO of Cingular, in his keynote address to the iWireless World conference. "It gives consumers the flexibility to toggle between an Internet session- say wireless access to email - and a phone call or text message without having to abandon their connection."
The introduction of the new GPRS technology to Cingular customers in California lays the foundation for Cingular's roll-out of "3G" or third generation wireless technology. By the end of 2002, Cingular expects to also turn-up GSM/GPRS services in New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Detroit, and Orlando, Melbourne and Daytona in Florida. GPRS is already marketed in Seattle and Spokane, Las Vegas, Eastern Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and coastal areas of Georgia. GPRS is expected to be available nationwide in all Cingular markets by early 2004.
"Cingular will be bringing its 3G technology - called EDGE - to the public beginning next year," said Carter. "By the end of 2003, all of our major markets will be 3G-capable."
GPRS is the next step in Cingular's migration to "3G"/EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) technology. The upgrade to EDGE puts in place "always-on" packet data technology, which is capable of transmitting data at up to peak rates of 470kbs - fast enough to support full-motion video. Users can expect average throughput speeds of 100kbs - 150kbs in a fully loaded environment. The upgrade begins in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to be finished by early 2004.
Cingular Wireless Internet Express customers can also access Cingular's My Wireless Window Internet portal, which provides a calendar, address book, e-mail, shopping and instant messaging capabilities. Companies can also provide employees with the ability to manage their Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes corporate e-mail securely and in real-time from their mobile phones through Cingular Xpress MailSM.
GPRS service is sold at Cingular as "Wireless Internet Express." With Cingular's new Wireless Internet Express, air time will not count against wireless rate plan minutes, so customers are able to spend as much time on the Internet as needed, paying only for their data volume usage (per kilobyte sent and received). Wireless Internet Express will be offered as a feature add-on to any rate plan, giving consumers added flexibility to meet their specific needs. Packages are available starting at $8.99 and including 100 interactive messages.
Cingular currently offers the following GPRS handsets to customers: Motorola V60, Motorola T193 and Ericsson T61z. The Ericsson T68i and Motorola V70 will be available in the near future as well.