Cingular Follows AT&T into UMTS 1900 Trials
By Eric Lin, Wed May 26 23:00:00 GMT 2004

Cingular has announced it will begin UMTS trials in Atlanta, Georgia this Summer, but a wide rollout won't occur until 2006 according to CEO Stan Sigman. He's not including AT&T's four city launch later this year... yet.

Cingular, which is just on the verge completing network wide EDGE coverage, will begin a UMTS trial in their home town of Atlanta, Georgia this summer. Initially it will only be available to employees, who will be limited to data-use via a PC card.

Earlier, AT&T Wireless announced they would commercially launch UMTS in four US cities by the end of the year. Cingular is technologically following in AT&T's footsteps, using 1900 mHz equipment for 3G trials, while reserving some for 2G users but trying to shift the bulk of 2/2.5 G usage to their 850 mHz spectrum.

AT&T never announced when it expected to roll UMTS out nationwide, and now they probably never will. Assuming the Cingular buyout is completed, Cingular CEO Stan Sigman doesn't expect a broad rollout until 2006 on the combined network, despite whatever work AT&T has completed. Much like European carriers a year or two ago, Sigman complains that the supply of equipment simply doesn't meet their demand yet. We do know there are at least two sources of 1900 mHz UMTS equipment -- since AT&T announced they were using base stations from both Ericsson and Nortel. However the handsets AT&T has announced for their launch this year are as bulky and unappealing as the initial 3G handsets that disappointed in Europe last year. Maybe Sigman means he's waiting for some decent phones that operate on UMTS 1900.