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AT&T start 3G UMTS services in the US

Posted on 21-Jul-2004 07:29 | Filed under: News

AT&T start 3G UMTS services in the US
AT&T Wireless is now offering customers in Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle broadband mobile wireless services with its launch of the first commercially-available 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) network in the United States. The company said it is also deploying UMTS technology in Dallas and San Diego, and expects to offer service in these markets before the end of this year.

AT&T Wireless said its wireless broadband service turns these markets into "metropolitan hotspots," offering customers continuous, high-speed wireless connections. Customers can now use a handset, PDA or laptop to receive streaming audio and video services; create and share video clips in most areas throughout these cities. The company also noted that it launched commercial service in these four cities in fulfillment of NTT DoCoMo's shareholder rights agreement.

AT&T Wireless said the four-city UMTS (also known as W-CDMA) deployment is the next logical step for delivering 3G services on the world-standard GSM wireless technology platform. Currently, there are more than one billion GSM subscribers in more than 200 countries around the world.

The company pointed that now offers the fastest nationwide wireless data service with EDGE, and provides true 3G service in more U.S. markets than any other company. The commercial launch of UMTS by AT&T Wireless, and the expanded spectrum position that will result from the pending merger of AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless, will enable the new combined company to offer customers a more expansive portfolio of wireless data solutions in North America. With the completion of the merger targeted before the end of the year, the new combined company will be better positioned to deploy UMTS nationally. Cingular recently disclosed plans for UMTS deployment, which it said will include trials in Atlanta this summer and could begin rolling out in 2005.

AT&T Wireless said its wireless broadband service provides customers with average wireless data speeds between 220 and 320 kilobits-per-second (kbps), with bursts up to 384kbps. In the future, the company noted that UMTS can be easily and cost-effectively upgraded to HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), which is estimated to attain peak data rates up to 14.4 megabits-per-second (mbps).

Starting today, AT&T Wireless said its customers can access the new wireless broadband service using either the Motorola A845 (US$299.99) or Nokia 6651 (US$299.99) handsets. In addition to providing access to high-speed wireless data connections and enhanced content through AT&T Wireless' mMode in the four markets announced today, the company said the handsets can be used to make voice calls or access wireless data connections at speeds equivalent to standard wired dial up service, when customers travel outside the four initial markets. The company said it is also offering a UMTS modem developed jointly by Lucent and Novatel (US$149.99 with rebate), in addition to the handsets. Customers can select from any of AT&T Wireless GSM calling plans for voice services and can receive a monthly unlimited enhanced mMode plan for US$24.99. Businesses can purchase unlimited data access for US$79.99 monthly.

AT&T Wireless said a number of the world's leading technology companies plan to take advantage of the higher throughput of its wireless broadband service to deliver applications, products and services to their customers. For consumers, mMode offers a host of high-speed, premium steaming and downloadable video and audio entertainment services. Premium entertainment services provided by RealNetworks, Inc. give mMode customers the ability to enjoy content including ABC News, NPR News, CBS Marketwatch, FOX Sports, Sporting News Radio, The Weather Channel, as well as, prime time TV and soap opera recaps, movie reviews and trailers, horoscopes, book reviews and more.

AT&T Wireless said mobile professionals will be able to the use the modem or the handsets' Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly enable Internet and e-mail access using HP Pocket PC and notebook PCs. HP is a partner on this launch.

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