Cingular takes us to the EDGE

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 1st, 2003, 13:32
Category: Mobile Phone

Cingular Wireless announced the availability of EDGE data services on their US GSM network. As long as you live in Indianapolis!


(Cingular’s PRESS RELEASE)
EDGE is Enhanced Datarate for Global Evolution; technology that allows for faster data transfer speeds over GPRS networks for GSM mobile carriers that puts them on a par with SprintPCS and Verizon’s 1xRTT service. EDGE is up to three times faster than GPRS and GSM carriers are in the process of doing overlays for EDGE data support all across the United States. To deploy EDGE, GSM carriers need to upgrade the base stations used for service. This is probably why it has been slow to arrive in the US.
Cingular seems to be claiming that they’re deploying true 3G wireless data service, this writer will reserve judgment on that claim, and point out that the 3G standards currently ratified and accepted are EDGE, WCDMA, CDMA2000, and TD-SCDMA.
What does this mean for Mac users? Cingular’s EDGE service supports peak data rates up to 170kbps with average data rates of 75-135kbps. At its worst it’s about twice as fast as current GPRS service, and at best it’s faster than using IDSL and ISDN at around 128kbits. It was just a few years ago that I had ISDN installed at my house – I feel like I’m going Back to the Future, but this time, I can bring my laptop.
Or can I? EDGE handsets do exist, The Nokia 6200 for example is a GSM/GPRS/EDGE handset with a color display, and it is a nice handset. The only problem is that it lacks Bluetooth. In fact, no EDGE handset currently has Bluetooth as well. I don’t know what the status of USB connection cables is, but to be honest I think I can suffer in silence with GPRS until Bluetooth and EDGE are married in the future. If you don’t like the Nokia, you can also consider a new Motorola T725 when it’s released. Another alternative are EDGE pc-card adapters, when they become available for Powerbook users.
Several months ago, AT&T Wireless said that they had EDGE deployed at 90% of their sites. I don’t know if they officially launched the service yet or not, but they are apparently waiting to make a hubbub until all their markets are covered. Cingular has made an announcement without full coverage in their map, and if you’re interested in their GSM/EDGE service, you’d be best served to visit their website and see if it’s available.

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