Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cingular launches high-speed service

A few articles on Cingular's launch of its BroadbandConnect HSDPA data network in 16 markets in the U.S. The 3G service will initially only serve laptop users until new handsets are released in 2006. Cost for Cingular customers with a voice plan is $60 a month for unlimited data.

At the San Diego Union-Tribune, independent analyst Jeff Kagan said, "This is a progression of the wireless industry. It's getting faster and better for the user all of the time. We're in the process of watching the wireless industry move from a phone-only industry to a third screen, where you can have access to everything at high speeds."

Michael King at Gartner noted Cingular is behind the competition with its 3G network and services. He said, "Verizon got a pretty decent head start on everybody," and pointed out that the "WCDMA technology Cingular is using could lead to congestion on the network," since "voice and data share the same bandwidth on Cingular's network." He said, "That could be an issue."

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Albert Lin at American Technology Research said, "This is big. The United States has been viewed as a lagging market for mobile communications for the past decade. With this new service, the United States fairly quickly has taken the lead." Lin noted the benefits to enterprise customers BroadbandConnect will provide.

I'm sure this last quote by Lin should be reversed when he said, Verizon "isn't taking this sitting down. But Cingular has a one-year lead." It should be the other way around with Verizon and Sprint having the lead in 3G, unless this was taken out of context.

Lastly, over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mark Lowenstein at Mobile Ecosystem said, "For the first time, 3G is good enough -- for day-to-day e-mail, Web access, the usual stuff. I wouldn't rely on this for sending massive files, but for basic Outlook (calendar and e-mails) stuff, it's fine."

While the service will first appeal to business, Lowenstein predicted "2006 will be the year when we see a lot more video and music marketed to consumers. The marketing guns are coming out." He then pointed out that among the major four carriers in the U.S., now only T-Mobile "lacks a high-speed data network, though it does power many Wi-Fi "hot spots" throughout the country." Lowenstein opined that "Over time, that (lack) will keep them out of the corporate market in a major way."

Does T-Mobile even have much of a presence in the enterprise? I always seem to view them as more of a consumer carrier although maybe I'm just biased because I've never been a big fan of Catherine Zeta-Jones...