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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Cingular offers super speed

Cingular Wireless yesterday rolled out a new “super-charged” broadband service in Boston and other cities, bragging it was a groundbreaking technological first in the nation.

But Verizon Wireless and Sprint-Nextel immediately accused Cingular of hype and simply copying their own high-speed broadband services — right down to the $59.99 monthly price for unlimited minutes.

"It’s one of many firsts,” said Ralph de la Vega, chief operating officer of Cingular, which unveiled its new use of so-called “High Speed Downlink Packet Access” technology. The service, an upgrade of its current wireless broadband offerings, allows people with laptop computers to use a card to access broadband data services. Users can make data connections between 400-700 kilobits per second on downloads and bursts to more than a megabit per second.

The new service can only be used with laptops right now, though Cingular plans to employ the technology for cell phones next year. De la Vega said the new service was “making history.” More like repeating history, Verizon and Sprint-Nextel asserted. “We’ve had it for three years,” said John Redman, a Sprint-Nextel spokesman. Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Wendy Bulawa said Cingular’s plan is “very similar in everything” to what Verizon’s now offers.

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