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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cingular Introduces 3G Broadband Network in Atlanta

ATLANTA, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Cingular said today it will transform Atlanta into a wireless speedway as it begins offering mobile broadband access throughout the greater metropolitan area.

Cingular customers can now use its 3G mobile broadband network to more quickly access e-mail, browse the Internet, connect to business applications, or watch video clips while on-the-go from Alpharetta south to Riverdale and from Powder Springs east to Lilburn.

"People want mobile access to communications and information services wherever they are, whether they are taking in a game at Turner Field, visiting a customer in Alpharetta or working from home in Stone Mountain," said Cliff Minor, vice president and general manager for Cingular's Georgia Operations. "Our 3G network complements the broadband experience customers already receive at work by extending an 'invisible wire' throughout our service area."

Cingular's 3G network is currently available in 54 communities nearby the major markets of Austin (TX), Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Gary (IN), Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle, Tacoma (WA) and Washington D.C. The company will expand its 3G network coverage area to most major markets by the end of 2006.

The Cingular 3G network uses HSDPA/UMTS (High Speed Downlink Packet Access/Universal Mobile Telephone System) technology. This technology makes it possible for people to enjoy a wide variety of wireless content. HSDPA/UMTS gives Cingular the advantage of offering simultaneous voice and data services to customers and is based upon the global standard for wireless communications - GSM. For businesses and consumers, this means more feature- rich services and content, and for Cingular, a more economical method for carrying traffic and more efficient use of spectrum.


Customers who want to watch video highlights of last night's Braves game, or get a preview of HBO's Entourage series, can see it all - and more - by signing up for Cingular Video. Cingular Video is an on-demand streaming video service with a large selection of popular mobile content that can be viewed on 3G-capable Cingular phones.

"We've tailored Cingular Video so that customers can quickly and easily personalize and access some of their favorite entertainment and information sites," said Minor. "Imagine a soccer mom who can now get regular weather video updates every 30 minutes from her phone on the way between her son or daughters activities."

Cingular Video includes local weather forecasts in 100 cities across the country, three times more cities than any other service provider. Basic Cingular Video service includes more options for families from media outlets including ABC TV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, CNN, Disney Channel, Disney Mobile Studios, ESPN, FOX Sports, FOX News, FOX TV, FUEL, HBO Family (premium), HBO Mobile (premium), iFilm, Jayski Alerts, Music Choice, NASCAR.com To Go (premium), NCAA Championship Sports Content, NBC, Richard Childress Racing, SPEED, The Weather Channel and TV Guide Channel.

Cingular currently offers 3G service on the LG CU320 and Samsung SGH-ZX10 handsets and will add several other handsets to its product line, including adding support for HSDPA, in the coming months. Prices for Cingular 3G handsets start at $99 after a $50 mail-in rebate for a two-year service plan commitment. Cingular Video requires a $19.99 MEdia Net Unlimited data package. Premium content, such as HBO Mobile, is available on a an additional monthly subscription basis, while other content, such as music video clips from Music Choice, is available on a pay-per-view basis for a 24-hour period of time.

Cingular Video offers quick access to content users care about most. Cingular Video users can create a personalized home page with up to three links to their favorite video sites. In addition, the service is pre-set to automatically stream localized weather information to a user's personalized "News & Weather" page each day and provides local weather forecasts in 100 cities across the country, three times more cities than any other service provider.

While some wireless providers offer only a limited set of "non-premium" content options, Cingular Video provides the most complete basic-service package available in the U.S. market. Cingular Video is the only service to offer Fox News clips in addition to news broadcasts from CNN and NBC.


Utilizing its 3G network, Cingular's LaptopConnect solutions give businesses the ability to use their laptops to access the Internet or e-mail, download large files and attachments, or run corporate business applications at average data speeds between 400-700Kbps (kilobits per second) on the downlink, with bursts to more than a megabit per second.

"Businesses need the same fast reliable access to information whether they're working from a desktop in their office or making a presentation to a customer at an offsite location," said Jeff Bradley, vice president for Cingular's Business Markets Group. "They don't want to wait for a large contract to download or access their company's intranet site to check inventory status. With BroadbandConnect, they don't have to anymore."

Cingular LaptopConnect combines either an external LaptopConnect card or an integrated modem within a Laptop and Cingular's Communication Manager to provide access to the 3G network. The service also offers additional security features compared to alternative wireless technologies.

Customers can purchase either an Option Wireless GT Max, Novatel U730 or Sierra Wireless AC860 laptop modem card for $99.99, after rebate, when they sign up for a qualifying voice plan and two-year, Unlimited Data Connect plan. Customers can also purchase a Dell Latitude D620 or Dell Latitude D820 at http://www.cingular.com/dell. Cingular's Unlimited DataConnect plan is currently $59.99 those customers who sign up for a two-year term and have a qualifying voice plan with Cingular.

Additionally, business customers traveling outside the United States can select one of two international data plans. Cingular DataConnect North America ($109.99 for 100MB) for travel within Canada and Mexico, and DataConnect Global ($139.99 for 100MB), an overseas plan - both include unlimited data usage on Cingular's domestic data networks. Cingular is the first and only carrier in the world to offer a single card/single rate plan solution for international travelers.

All Cingular LaptopConnect cards and Integrated modems are dual-band HSDPA/UMTS (850/1900Mhz) and quad-band EDGE/GPRS (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution/General Packet Radio Service) in four bands (850/900/1800/1900Mhz), which means the devices are interoperable between the company's nationwide EDGE network and it's 3G network. The Option Wireless GT Max card also includes the 2100Mhz band, offering either HSDPA or UMTS broadband speeds in select countries.

Cingular to Offer Push E-mail on HTCs

[Cingular offers push e-mail to business customers using Direct Push Technology, part of the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Messaging and Security Feature Pack for use with the Cingular 8100 series Pocket PC and Cingular 2125 Smartphone.]

Cingular Wireless will offer its business customers access to corporate e-mail via Direct Push Technology, a feature of Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) upgrade, beginning on June 19, 2006.

The solution initially will be available on two of the hottest wireless devices in the market today: the Cingular 8100 series Pocket PC and Cingular 2125 Smartphone. Direct Push Technology delivers an enhanced mobile experience to organizations that use Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 by pushing updates to e-mail, calendar items, contacts and tasks as they arrive directly from the Exchange Server to the devices. MSFP additionally enhances these Windows Mobile-powered Cingular Wireless devices by delivering improved device management and added security features for IT administrators, like over-the- air device password policy enforcement and remote wipe of the device in case of loss or theft.

Corporate customers will be able to access e-mail and other Microsoft Office Outlook-related functions via new solution-specific rate plans. These rate plans will identify Direct Push Technology customers and qualify them for specialized customer service and technical support, a key part of the Cingular Wireless e-mail offering.

"Microsoft Direct Push Technology delivers a great wireless email capability that is seamlessly integrated with Exchange Server 2003. This greatly improves the ability of Cingular corporate customers to rapidly deploy wireless e-mail by simplifying the enterprise messaging architecture," said Michael Woodward, Executive Director of Mobile Professional Solutions, for Cingular Wireless. "We believe this important and powerful addition to Cingular's business solutions portfolio will lead to broader adoption of wireless e-mail in the enterprise sector and further extend Cingular's worldwide market share leadership in this space."

"Microsoft and Cingular's strong integration demonstrates our commitment to providing the latest technologies and tools for success to mobile professionals as they discover new and different ways of living the mobile lifestyle," said Scott Horn, General Manager, Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. "Microsoft's Direct Push Technology upgrade creates fast, on-the-go access to essential business information, such as e- mail, calendar data and tasks -- empowering people to stay connected when away from the office."

Easy Deployment

The enterprise-grade solution is simple to deploy for new and existing customers. For new B2B customers, the client software is included on the Cingular 8100 Series and Cingular 2125 devices and the server software is included in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2. Users of devices running Windows Mobile 5.0 simply plug in the same credentials they would use for Outlook Web Access, and their e-mail and other Outlook information is delivered automatically. All existing customers can download the upgrade for free from the Cingular website.

The new combined offering includes the following features:

- Direct Push Technology - This innovation pushes e-mail to Windows Mobile-powered Cingular devices automatically. It is designed to deliver time sensitive e-mail as it arrives and helps ensure that device battery life is not drained by unnecessary synchronization cycles.

- Task Synchronization - Outlook tasks are automatically pushed to the device, along with e-mail, calendar entries and contacts.

- Global Address Lookup - Over-the-air look-up of addresses enables a mobile user to send email to anyone in the company's Global Address List, even if they do not have the recipient's contact details on their device.

Enhanced Security and Device Management

Enhancements to security and device management include remote policy enforcement, remote device wipe, password enforcement, native S/MIME support, certificate-based authentication and FIPS 140-2 certification.

Cingular's offering of Microsoft's Direct Push Technology meets the needs of companies that depend on wireless e-mail for mission critical communications. It has been thoroughly tested for certification on Cingular's nationwide* EDGE network, the largest national high-speed wireless data network in the U.S., and is supported by Cingular's data help desk, resulting in a highly reliable enterprise-grade solution.

Popular Devices

The Cingular 8100 series and 2125 are cost-effective converged high-speed, global communications devices that appeal to a broad range of wireless users, from individual consumers to larger companies. In addition to their Windows Mobile 5.0 capabilities, they feature the best in connectivity, productivity, and mobility with EDGE, Bluetooth, quad-band international roaming, and integrated Wi-Fi on the Cingular 8100 Series Pocket PCs. Cingular's EDGE network is available in 13,000 cities and towns and along nearly 40,000 miles of major highways.

Both devices also provide a rich multimedia experience to enjoy music and video featuring an integrated multimedia suite with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, stereo headset jack, and 1.3 megapixel camera. The devices support multiple audio formats including MP3, AMR, AAC, WAV and Windows Media Audio (WMA), as well as MPEG-4 video streaming. A mini-SD expansion card slot allows the user to add memory for storing music, games, photos and video.

Pricing and Availability

Microsoft Direct Push Technology will be available through Cingular's B2B sales organization starting on June 19. For the Cingular 8100 Series Pocket PC, the Cingular Microsoft Direct Push Technology data plan is $44.99 with a qualifying voice plan for unlimited Internet and e-mail access. For the Cingular 2125 Smartphone, the data plan is $29.99 with a qualifying voice plan for unlimited Internet and e-mail access. Both plans include access to specialized tier 1 and 2 support.

Cingular customers that already have deployed Cingular 8100 Series or Cingular 2125 devices can download the MSFP software update for free from www.cingular.com/microsoft starting on June 19.

* Not available in all areas.

Cingular's HSDPA 3G network gets tough

With two older names from the wireless biz standing up to the forefront of Cingular's emerging HSDPA wireless network, both Panasonic and Novatel have teamed together to produce a product for use on the high-speed HSDPA network Cingular is in the process of rolling out.

The Panasonic Toughbook rugged laptop computer, modem CF-18, features an embedded Novatel HSDPA solution for use on the Cingular BroadbandConnect 3G service available in certain Cingular markets nationwide. With Cingular's HSDPA network set to be available in most major markets by the end of 2006, this solution will surely not be the last integrated HSPDA notebook on the market.

Just like WiFi from five years ago is now standard in almost all notebook computers, expect high-speed data services like EV-DO from Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless and HSDPA from Cingular Wireless to have integrated solution options available in many mid-range and higher-end notebook computers in the next few years.