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Which carriers have 3G?

The big four carriers (now that Cingular has acquired AT&T Wireless and Sprint has gobbled up Nextel) are planning to roll out 3G services, but they each have slightly different timetables to get there. Read on for the details.

A 3G carrier timeline 
   Carrier   3G plans   Available now?   Rates   ETA for nationwide 
GSM Cingular/
AT&T Wireless
UMTS, upgrade to HSPDA Yes, in Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle $80 per month (business plan)
$25 per month (consumer
enhanced mMode plan)
End of 2006
T-Mobile UMTS (may jump directly to HSDPA) No n/a 2007
CDMA Verizon 1xEV-DO Yes (31 cities) $80 per month (business plan)
$15 per month (consumer V Cast plan)
End of 2006

Sprint Nextel

1xEV-DO No n/a Early 2006

 Cingular/AT&T Wireless
  • Current network: GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Planned 3G network: UMTS/HSPDA
  • 3G available now? Yes, in 6 cities
  • 3G plans: Now that it's absorbed the wireless spectrum of fellow GSM carrier AT&T Wireless (which launched UMTS service in Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle in the second half of 2004), Cingular is poised to enter the 3G market in a big way. The carrier has signed agreements with Ericsson and Lucent Technologies to help roll out an HSDPA-enhanced UMTS service starting in 2005.
  • ETA for nationwide service: End of 2006 for "most major markets."
  • Supported handsets include: Nokia 6651, Motorola A845

  • Current network: CDMA/1xRT
  • Planned 3G network: 1xEV-DO, future upgrade to 1xEV-DV
  • 3G available now? No
  • 3G plans: Sprint just closed a $3 billion deal with Lucent, Motorola, and Nortel to jump-start its 3G strategy. Sprint is hoping to roll out the data-only 1xEV-DO service this year in "major U.S. metro markets." Meanwhile, Nextel's push-to-talk service is set to migrate to the 1xEV-DO service sometime in 2007.
  • ETA for nationwide service: Early 2006
  • Supported handsets include: None yet but Sprint currently have multimedia phones on a 2.5G network.

  • Current network: GSM/GPRS
  • Planned 3G network: UMTS/HSPDA
  • 3G available now? No
  • 3G plans: T-Mobile is trailing the competition in the race to 3G. Representatives for the carrier say that T-Mobile doesn't have enough wireless spectrum available to roll out UMTS until at least 2007, a full year after GSM rival Cingular, which got a leg up by acquiring fellow GSM carrier AT&T Wireless. However, T-Mobile officials announced in December 2004 that the carrier will probably jump directly to the HSPDA-enhanced version of UMTS, rather than launch UMTS first and add HSPDA later. In the meantime, T-Mobile says it will build out its long-awaited 2.5G EDGE network in 2005.
  • ETA for nationwide service: 2007

  • Current network: CDMA/1xRTT
  • Planned 3G network: 1xEV-DO
  • 3G available now? Yes, in 52 cities: Akron; Athens, Georgia; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Beaumont, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Dayton; Hartford; Houston, Texas; Indianapolis; Jacksonville; Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Las Vegas, Nevada; Long Island, New York; Los Angeles/Orange County; Madison, Wisconsin; Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Milwaukee; New Haven/New London, Connecticut; New Orleans; New York City; Newark/Jersey City, New Jersey; Oakland; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Oregon; Providence; Richmond; Rochester, New York; Sacramento, California; San Antonio; San Francisco; San Diego; San Jose, California; Tampa/St. Petersburg; St. Louis; Seattle; Syracuse, New York; Trenton; Washington, D.C.; West Palm Beach, Florida; Wilmington, Delaware
  • 3G plans: Verizon jumped on the 3G bandwagon early, launching 1xEV-DO service in San Diego and Washington, D.C., in October 2003. While 3G service is available across the country, coverage is limited outside of major metropolitan areas. Verizon also made a big splash at the 2005 CES with its announcement of V Cast, a consumer broadband service offering on-demand video, 3D gaming, and streaming music videos.
  • ETA for nationwide service: End of 2006

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