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Cingular Trying To Speed Its 3G Deployment

Cingular Wireless indicated Tuesday that it is trying to speed up its deployment of fast wireless data access, saying that it is formally requesting bids from wireless infrastructure vendors to deploy a UMTS data network.

The request for proposals (RFP) potentially could mean that the company would start rolling out UMTS service in 2005, the company said in a statement. UMTS is a GSM-based technology can attain data speeds of roughly 384 Kbps.

Officials for the company previously said that it was unlikely to roll out UMTS until 2006, claiming that the infrastructure equipment wasn't widely enough available. Even if it does speed up its deployment schedule, however, the company would be behind both Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS.

Verizon announced last year that it would start rolling out its CDMA-based EV-DO network this summer and would largely complete the roll-out by next summer. Sprint PCS announced Tuesday that it would start rolling out its EV-DO network later this year and would have it largely completed by the end of 2005.

In a statement, Cingular said its acquisition of AT&T Wireless, which still has not received final approvals, makes the high-speed roll-out possible.

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