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Cingular Launches 1st HSDPA Phone

Atlanta — Cingular launched its first 3G W-CDMA phone to incorporate high-speed HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) wireless data, driving up download speeds to an average 400-700Kbps with bursts to more than 1MB.

The phone gives Cingular rough data rate parity with Sprint’s CDMA 1x EV-DO network, said by Sprint to offer average download speeds of 400-700Kbps in markets nationwide. Sprint and EV-DO carrier Verizon, however, offer a greater selection of EV-DO phones than Cingular does HSDPA phones. In addition, while the Sprint and Verizon EV-DO networks are operating nationwide, Cingular’s HSDPA network is operating only in 18 major markets serving 54 communities. HSDPA service, however, will be rolled out in most major markets by the end of the year.

The HSDPA phone, LG’s clamshells CU500, is the first HSDPA phone available to consumers in the U.S. and accelerates speeds from the average 200-300Kbps available from Cingular’s other W-CDMA phones. It promises faster video downloads and Web browsing,

The LG CU500 is available through select Cingular Wireless retail locations or through the carrier’s Web site for $99 with a two-year contract and after $50 mail-in rebate if purchased with unlimited Media Net plan.

“With the arrival of HSDPA technology, users can now download their favorite multimedia content at nearly instantaneous speeds,” said Jeff Hwang, LG’s marketing and product strategy senior VP.

The LG CU500 also incorporates a full-featured music player, external music keys and optional Bluetooth Stereo headset for on-the-go music listening. It also includes a 1.3-megapixel camera with rotating lens and preloaded Instant Messenger clients: AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger.

Subscribers using the CU500 with Cingular’s video service can watch clips from their favorite shows, news, sports and movie trailers at broadband speeds. Customers can also identify an artist’s name and song being played over the radio or live at a club with Cingular’s enhanced music-recognition service, called MusicID.