Cingular Wireless today announced the world's first commercial deployment of wireless services using Enhanced Datarate for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology. Indianapolis will be the first market to offer EDGE service, with subsequent deployments expected later in the year.
Building on more than a decade of wireless data experience, Cingular's EDGE technology enables true "third-generation" (3G) wireless data services with data speeds typically three times faster than those available on GSM/GPRS networks. Based on GSM, the worldwide standard for wireless communications, EDGE is a software enhancement for Cingular's General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) data network that can support peak data rates up to 170 kilobits per second with average data rates of 75-135 Kbps.
"Our EDGE rollout demonstrates Cingular's continuing progress and evolution in GSM deployment," said Bill Clift, chief technical officer at Cingular Wireless. "EDGE is recognized as the most economical way to overlay GSM/GPRS to achieve 3G capabilities, and we're proud to be the first North American carrier to deliver EDGE-based wireless services to our customers."
"Indianapolis is world-renowned for speed," said Bob Puglielli, vice- president and general manager of Cingular Wireless Indiana. "We're happy to contribute to the local tradition and be the first city to offer the fastest wireless technology available in the country today."
Cingular's rollout of EDGE in Indianapolis means that customers in this market can now enjoy near-broadband speeds when accessing the Internet from a wireless phone or laptop, or while sending and receiving digital images. Customers, activated on a Cingular data-enabled rate plan, need only obtain an EDGE-enabled device -- such as the Nokia 6200 with its mobile office kit -- to take advantage of higher data speeds. Users can browse the Internet with Wireless Internet Express, access corporate data using DataConnect or send photo messages. The difference will be in much faster download and upload speeds.
Another key benefit of EDGE-capable devices from Cingular is that they are backwards-compatible with GPRS and programmed to stay "on network." If a customer travels from a Cingular EDGE coverage area to a Cingular area that only has GPRS, the device will fall back to Cingular's GPRS coverage, even when it is in a data session. Roaming fees are also the same for GPRS and EDGE.
In the future, EDGE will enable Cingular to offer more products and services that take advantage of EDGE's higher speed-including audio and video, higher resolution photos, and more robust email and corporate data access.