Cingular Wireless has switched on a broadband wireless service to help laptop owners access business applications and download e-mail and large files when they are out of the office.
BroadbandConnect uses a modem card and software to access the mobile giant's third-generation network. Additional devices and services, such as audio and video transmissions, will be available in 2006.
"We're giving customers the ability to securely access information and applications at broadband speeds in the office, on the road or at home," Cingular COO Ralph de la Vega said in a statement. "With our 3G service, almost any spot in a city is a hotspot."
The new service promises speeds of 400 kilobits per second to 700 kilobits per second on the downlink and bursts to more than a megabit per second.
Cingular is launching BroadbandConnect in such cities as Boston, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and Austin.
Ritch Blasi, a Cingular spokesman, said that the service will be expanded to most major markets next year, although a specific schedule hasn't been set yet.
Customers can buy a Sierra Wireless or Novatel modem card for $99.99 when they sign up for a qualifying voice plan and two-year $59.99 Unlimited Data Connect plan. A variety of monthly data plans are available starting at $19.99, Cingular said.
The offering also comes with an updated version of Cingular Communications manager, which helps customers connect to Cingular's network through a variety of access points.
Cingular, a joint venture between SBC Communications (which has adopted the AT&T brand after its acquisition of Ma Bell) and BellSouth, said the offering will compete with a variety of wireless data Services, as well as Verizon Wireless' offering.
Adapted from Internetnews.com.