ThinkPads to support Cingular 3G technology

Lenovo strikes a deal with Cingular Wireless to embed the carrier's 3G technology into laptops.

Lenovo, the maker of ThinkPad laptops, plans to embed high-speed Internet access technology from Cingular Wireless into its laptops.

Starting in March, some ThinkPad notebooks will be preconfigured to access Cingular's newly built third-generation technology called BroadbandConnect, Lenovo said Wednesday. The network is based on two technologies, UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), a global 3G wireless standard, and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access).

BroadbandConnect was launched in December and provides data download speeds of between 400 kilobits per second and 700kbps.

Embedding the Cingular technology into laptops means that customers who subscribe to the Cingular service won't have to buy a separate network card. Consumers will be able to connect to the network anywhere they can receive a Cingular data service.

BroadbandConnect has been made available in 52 communities in the United States, according to the company, which plans to expand the network to most major markets in the U.S. by the end of 2006. In areas where the HSDPA/UMTS network is unavailable, ThinkPad users will be able to connect to Cingular's EDGE service, which provides download speeds of 70kbps to 135kbps. EDGE is available in about 13,000 cities across the U.S.

Because HSDPA/UMTS is the technology also used by wireless service providers in other parts of the world, such as Europe and Asia, ThinkPad users will have wireless access abroad in more than 90 countries where Cingular has data roaming agreements.

This is not the first agreement that Lenovo has struck with a wireless service provider. In September, it announced it would also embed high-speed wireless Internet access technology from Verizon Wireless into its products. Verizon Wireless uses a technology called EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) to provide high-speed Internet access.

About the author

Marguerite Reardon has been a CNET News reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate, as well as the ongoing consolidation of the phone companies. E-mail Maggie.

 

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