ATT Goes Nationwide With EDGE
By Eric Lin, Wed Nov 19 22:30:00 GMT 2003
Although they are not the first carrier in the world to launch a nationwide EDGE network, today AT&T certainly launched one of the largest, as well as the first in North America.
Customers can use either a Sony Ericsson PC Card which supports EDGE as well as GPRS in their laptops, or they can connect it to a Nokia 6200 handset. More EDGE devices are expected soon, including handsets from Motorola, Nokia, and notably a new Blackberry from Reasearch in Motion. ATT claims their new high speed network has real world throughput speeds of 100-130 kbps, with bursts of up to 200 k. That more than triples typical GPRS rates, and it puts ATT in competition with 1x RTT networks.
For the past two weeks ATT has been having troubles signing up new customers or moving existing customers to GSM service thanks to a glitch in a new CRM system. As of yesterday, ATT still claimed the problems "were not quite cleared up." However it seems that the situation is improving, despite the huge backlog of customer requests that accumulated in the past 14 days or so. If ATT expects EDGE to create a large draw for new subscribers, especially once the ever-looming number portability goes into effect, they need to get caught up quickly.
Other US GSM carriers like Cingular have only launched EDGE in test markets so far. No word has leaked out whether they will also launch EDGE in time to compete with the November 24th WLNP deadline.