AT&T Wireless (NYSE:AWE) begins offering Seattle businesses the next generation of wireless services today, making it the first wireless carrier in the United States offering advanced wireless data services.
AT&T Wireless' new GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) / GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or 2.5 G network gives Seattle businesses access to information at data speeds up to ten-times faster than those currently available on other existing domestic wireless networks.
"The combination of our 3G technology choice, spectrum portfolio, people, partners and financial strength is how we're delivering tomorrow's advanced wireless data services today -- and we're doing it first in our hometown," said John Zeglis, chairman and CEO of AT&T Wireless. "It's been just one week since our split-off from AT&T and we've hit the ground running as the first North American carrier to offer customers an enticing taste of next generation technology."
AT&T Wireless will deploy GSM/GPRS in markets representing approximately 40 percent of the population it serves this year and markets that cover 100 percent by the end of 2002. The company has enough spectrum to roll out GSM/GPRS in virtually all of the top 100 U.S. markets, and together with its partners and affiliates, has enough spectrum to launch full 3G (UMTS) in more than 70 of the top U.S. markets.
The company plans to deploy "true" third generation (3G) services, providing even faster data speeds, using EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) beginning in 2002 and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) starting in 2003.
"We committed to bring customers advanced wireless services that are affordable and easy to use, and today we are delivering on that promise," said Mohan Gyani, president and CEO for AT&T Wireless' mobility unit. "These advanced services will be available to millions of our customers by the end of this year."
AT&T Wireless is the first service provider in the country to offer the new Motorola Timeport(r) (Model P7382i) wireless phone. The phone provides customers with voice-activated dialing and allows for high-speed data access to corporate Intranet sites, e-mail and personal information, such as calendars. The Motorola Timeport phone can also be linked to compatible PCs, enabling customers to take advantage of the higher mobile data rates that such devices enable. Service over wireless modems will be available in the near future.
NEW "FIRST TIME" SERVICES AVAILABLE
In addition to basic features such as mobile Internet and email access, two-way text messaging, voice mail and multi-party calling, Seattle businesses will have the opportunity to use several "first time" services, including unified messaging and always-on high-speed data
Unified messaging gives customers the ability to combine their AT&T Wireless voicemail and email messages in a single mailbox. For example, customers can have their e-mail read to them over the phone. They can also access the mailbox from a PC.
"Always on" high-speed data service allows customers to easily flip back and forth between voice and data services while on a phone - either answering a voice call while surfing the mobile Internet or being notified of incoming e-mail while in voice mode.
Customers using data services draw from their allocation only when information is sent and received - they can spend as much time as they want reading e-mail or researching information on the mobile Internet.
Motorola Timeport phone is priced at $199.99. Hardware and software to link with PCs are also available for an additional cost.
Businesses interested in these high-speed data services can participate in the AT&T Wireless Corporate Digital Advantage program. The program provides eligible businesses benefits such as equipment and service discounts and support in analyzing a business's wireless needs to maximize usage and optimize cost control. Seattle businesses can call 1-877-400-1080 to sign up for the service.
The company said it plans to offer similar services in several other markets later this year, including Las Vegas and Portland.