AT&T Wireless Launches 3G, But Why?
from the as-expected dept
As was entirely expected (and leaked last week) AT&T Wireless has now launched their UMTS 3G service in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Detroit. The announcement also mentions that the service will be expanded to San Diego and Dallas by the end of the year. This is a bit curious, as those two cities were in the original list of four cities that AT&T Wireless named last year, but which (for no clear reason) were dropped from the list earlier this year. There still seems to be some confusion about whether or not AT&T Wireless was really required to do this as part of their deal with DoCoMo or not. Some have said that deal was no longer an issue since Cingular had agreed to buy out DoCoMo’s share of AT&T Wireless. Still, it seems odd that AT&T Wireless has decided to launch this offering now. If the Cingular deal is really going to be completed this fall, why bother spending a couple months marketing the AT&T Wireless 3G service, only to have to rebrand it three months from now? Some are now saying that AT&T Wireless launching this service now might be an indication that the merger is a bit shakier than has been publicly stated. If the merger doesn’t go through, they would still need to launch, since Cingular wouldn’t bail them out from the DoCoMo agreement. Also, by launching earlier, they would have a head start on any 3G competition from Cingular. It still seems likely that the deal will go through, but this early announcement and unclear status of the DoCoMo clause is raising some eyebrows.