AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless)

AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless)

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read

Editors' note: Because evaluating wireless coverage requires experience with the network in a wide variety of physical locations, CNET does not rate wireless carriers. We can, however, tell you everything you need to know about the major carriers. We invite your feedback and ratings in our user opinions section. The more input we get from around the U.S., the better our users can evaluate coverage at a national level. For more carrier information, please see CNET's Quick Guide.

AT&T is the second largest wireless carrier in the United States after Verizon Wireless, with 73 million subscribers. Today it offers a widespread network and arguably the largest and most varied selection of cell and smart phones. Originally formed in 2001 as Cingular Wireless, it changed its name to AT&T in 2007 to reflect its parent company. In 2004, Cingular acquired the now defunct AT&T Wireless.

Things you should know:

  • This carrier offers an unlimited calling plan.
  • AT&T's "rollover" plans let you roll unused minutes over to the following month.
  • A GSM carrier, AT&T offers extensive international roaming.
  • Customers can pay an extra fee to expand night and weekend hours.
  • AT&T tends to pick up the hottest phones soon after their release date. It was the first carrier to offer the Motorola Razr and is the exclusive provider of the Apple iPhone.
  • Offers the most Sony Ericsson and Nokia phones of the major carriers but also offers LG and Samsung handsets. Has a varied selection of smart phones.
  • Every carrier claims they have the best network, and AT&T boasts that independent studies have shown that it has the fewest dropped calls of any wireless carrier. Tell us what you think in the user opinions section.
  • High-speed 3G networks are limited to urban areas.

Fast facts:

  • Subscribers: 73 million
  • Coverage: Though AT&T provides coverage in every state, reception will vary due sharply based on the user's location. Through roaming agreements it also provides service in more than 190 countries.
  • Technology: GSM, GPRS, EDGE
  • 3G network: Yes, UMTS and HSDPA
  • Streaming video service: Yes, AT&T Video and AT&T Mobile TV
  • Music download service: Yes, AT&T Music
  • Push-to-talk service: Available, depending on phone model
  • Prepaid plans: Yes
  • Family plans: Yes