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Cingular dials in 3G

The cell phone service provider details its plans to test a wireless broadband network in Atlanta.

Cingular Wireless on Wednesday detailed its plans to test a wireless broadband network in Atlanta.

The second-largest U.S. cell phone service provider plans to test Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) equipment from Lucent Technologies. The equipment, which currently supports data speeds of up to 2mbps (megabits per second), ultimately could support speeds of up to 14.4mbps, the carrier said.

Cingular has lagged behind the other top six U.S. carriers in building 3G, or third-generation, cell phone networks. All its major competitors have either already launched similar networks or have plans to aggressively implement them this year. The technology allows carriers to increase their network calling capacity and to sell wireless broadband and other services.

Cingular, in a statement announcing the 3G testing, described general aspects of some services it might offer consumers with the new network. The offerings could include downloading film trailers and sports highlights, access to e-mails with large attachments, and locating automated bank machines, movie theaters or restaurants.

The network constructed in Atlanta is designed to support voice over Internet Protocol, which is used by landline telephone and cable service providers to sell cheaper phone services, according to Cingular.

Financial details surrounding Cingular's deal with Lucent to supply the UMTS technology were not disclosed.