Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wireless service providers assess past, look to future


As the year draws to a close some of the largest US wireless service providers spoke of their accomplishments in 2006 and are looking ahead to their goals for the New Year.

Cingular Wireless announced on Wednesday that its 3G network now reaches 160 markets, which was the company's goal for 2006. Cingular's 3G wireless technology is based on High-Speed Downlink Packet Access/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System more typically referred to as HSDPA/UMTS. The technology boosts download speeds of between 400Kbps and 700Kbps.

The wireless service provider says its 3G network now includes large cities including Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco. Like other 3G wireless data services, customers can use Cingular's HSDPA/UMTS offering to access their e-mail, the Internet or corporate office applications.

While Cingular has made strides this year upgrading its network to 3G, it's still behind its two rivals Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless.

Sprint announced Wednesday that it has put its US$7 billion network investment to good work this year surpassing its 3G deployment goals.

While Verizon Wireless didn't announce its year-end accomplishments Wednesday, the service provider did announce a $2 billion five-year deal with Nortel Networks. Verizon will be using Nortel Code Division Multiple Access 2000 (CDMA2000)- based gear to upgrade its network. They will be deploying new base stations, switching and optical network gear from Nortel.

Verizon also said that it is offering EV-DO Rev 0 services throughout the United States potentially reaching as many as 150 million customers. Despite requests, the carrier would not say exactly how many cities or markets it is currently offering EV-DO services.

Verizon Wireless, like Sprint, announced earlier this year that it would be rolling out EV-DO Rev A services. But Verizon has not revealed the cities or markets it is targeting for its initial Rev A upgrades.

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