AT&T Wireless Confirms 3G Plans--Sort Of

It confirmed that it will roll out UMTS service in four U S. markets, but offered few other details.
AT&T Wireless confirmed Monday that it will roll out 3G UMTS service in four U.S. metropolitan areas--but offered only a little new guidance about the nature of that service.

AT&T Wireless acknowledged that the UMTS service would be available in Seattle and San Francisco, but didn't name the other two metropolitan areas in which the fast data service would be available. Nor did the company say when--or whether--it or Cingular Wireless, which is acquiring AT&T Wireless, will expand on the rollout. It did say that devices from Motorola, NEC, and Nokia will be available for users of the service.

The UMTS rollout is required under an agreement AT&T Wireless undertook in 2001 with Japanese wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo. That operator acquired a 16% stake in the U.S. carrier, which is now in the process of being acquired by Cingular Wireless.

AT&T has rolled out its Edge data network nationwide, which delivers typical data speeds in the 100-Kbps range. The UMTS network is expected to deliver speeds in the 384-Kbps range. AT&T Wireless previously confirmed that it was in the process of developing its UMTS plans; Monday's announcement merely confirms those plans.

Separately, AT&T Wireless and Sun Microsystems said that Sun's Java Desktop System will work with the wireless operator's Edge network starting in the fall.

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