More 3G In The US Starting Next Week

from the wires?--who-needs-wires? dept

Back in February we noted that, even after the acquisition announcement from Cingular, AT&T Wireless was still required to launch 3G service in four cities by the end of the year, or be forced to pay back the $6 billion NTT DoCoMo gave them. So, it’s no surprise to hear that AT&T Wireless is on track to have four cities launched by the end of the year. They have $6 billion riding on it, after all. However, the surprise news may be that such service could launch next week. The four cities in question are San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Detroit, and the pricing isn’t quite as ridiculous as you might expect. Following the $80 rule, they’re offering business users unlimited 3G data at $80/month. For consumers, though, the price is a more Sprint-like $25/month. They’ll apparently be supporting two phones and a datacard for laptops, though, it seems likely that the datacard will only work on one of those $80/month business plans. Speeds should be slightly slower than Verizon’s EV-DO offering (only available in San Diego and DC right now), but should still be fairly useful in the 200 kbps to 300 kbps range. The question remains, though, if the combined Cingular/AT&T Wireless will build off of this offering, or if they’re just doing it to save the $6 billion. Such a network is a lot more useful when coverage is nationwide, instead of four (or two) random cities.

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