It's been a big week for Cingular. The carrier not only announced its push-to-talk serve but also launched its new 3G network. At this point, it's available for only laptop users with a modem card, but this new service will expedite a network for cell phones.
Running on HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) technology--an evolution of UMTS and EDGE that's actually 3.5G--Cingular's BroadConnect is the first widespread 3G network from a GSM carrier in the United States. AT&T Wireless launched a limited six-city UMTS network shortly before the merger, and T-Mobile has delayed its 3G plans until 2007. Cingular says its network is available to 35 million people in 52 "communities" (we're not sure what constitutes a community at this point), and it will continue to expand in 2006. Initial markers include Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, California; Seattle; Tacoma, Washington; and Washington, D.C. Promised data speeds are between 400Kbps and 700Kbps.