Cingular EDGE service review: Cingular EDGE service

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Cingular EDGE service

3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Widely available; easy to use and install; true mobile connectivity that works in moving vehicles.

The Bad Slow; pricey; difficult to determine the kilobytes tallied against your account.

The Bottom Line Cingular's EDGE service isn't the fastest or cheapest cellular data service in the land, but it is among the most widely available.

6.0 Overall
  • Installation and interface 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Service and support 6.0

Cingular EDGE service

If you're a mobile professional working in the field and in need of Internet connectivity, Cingular's EDGE service can come to the rescue. This is especially true if you find yourself needing connectivity off the beaten path, since Cingular's EDGE service is currently more widely available than faster 3G services. With coverage in more than 13,000 cities and towns and on 39,000 miles of highways, EDGE is still among the best mobile connectivity offerings available for hardened road warriors.

Cingular's EDGE service is nice in a pinch, but it's pricey and a far cry away from faster 3G networks, such as EVDO and UMTS. You can use Cingular's EDGE service to send and receive e-mail, run an instant messenger, and browse the Web, but don't expect content-rich Web pages to load with a quick ping. Instead, prepare to watch graphics gradually fill in the page. Video and audio streams are choppy at best. VoIP and Remote Desktop connections are equally disappointing. There's only so much you can accomplish with a typical data transfer rate ranging from 70Kbps to 135Kbps. True, Cingular's EDGE service is nearly twice the speed of poky CDMA 1xRTT connections and about three times faster than GPRS, but EDGE still lacks the bandwidth for smoothly surfing today's Internet.

Data Connect plans currently come in a variety of flavors, ranging from $19.99 for a meager 5 included megabytes to $79.99 for all-you-can-eat service. If you need the EDGE connection only occasionally for sending e-mail when no other Internet connection is available, then the budget $19.99 plan might suffice, but beware: you're charged an additional 0.8 cent for every kilobyte beyond your 5MB limit, and that can get pricey in a hurry. International roaming costs you 1.95 cents per kilobyte.

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