January 4, 2006 10:40 AM PST

ThinkPads to support Cingular 3G technology

Lenovo, the maker of ThinkPad laptops, plans to embed high-speed Internet access technology from Cingular Wireless into its laptops.

Starting in March, some ThinkPad notebooks will be preconfigured to access Cingular's newly built third-generation technology called BroadbandConnect, Lenovo said Wednesday. The network is based on two technologies, UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), a global 3G wireless standard, and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access).

BroadbandConnect was launched in December and provides data download speeds of between 400 kilobits per second and 700kbps.

Embedding the Cingular technology into laptops means that customers who subscribe to the Cingular service won't have to buy a separate network card. Consumers will be able to connect to the network anywhere they can receive a Cingular data service.

BroadbandConnect has been made available in 52 communities in the United States, according to the company, which plans to expand the network to most major markets in the U.S. by the end of 2006. In areas where the HSDPA/UMTS network is unavailable, ThinkPad users will be able to connect to Cingular's EDGE service, which provides download speeds of 70kbps to 135kbps. EDGE is available in about 13,000 cities across the U.S.

Because HSDPA/UMTS is the technology also used by wireless service providers in other parts of the world, such as Europe and Asia, ThinkPad users will have wireless access abroad in more than 90 countries where Cingular has data roaming agreements.

This is not the first agreement that Lenovo has struck with a wireless service provider. In September, it announced it would also embed high-speed wireless Internet access technology from Verizon Wireless into its products. Verizon Wireless uses a technology called EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) to provide high-speed Internet access.

2 comments

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How about this?
Instead of just offering Cingular's solution, how about offering the choice of which provider you want to use and making deals with all of them?

If not, then make the support for 3G an option rather than a build-in.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
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Good idea, but ...
I really don't know the full details, but I suppose this could work with any 3G GSM network. And I only know of Cingular going 3G GSM in the US (I could be wrong). Old IBM/Lenevo maybe marketing to the world, and not to some of America only. It would much harder to market to several cell phone networks, because Average Joe doesn't know what CDMA and GSM and the like mean to know which to get.

I did read the press release on Cingular's site to learn more. And yes, I have Cingular mainly because they are GSM (even though they are far from perfect). My theory is if we all go GSM, we'll be like Europe -- no need for "best network" or "biggest network" with small print claims and universal coverage.
Posted by i_am_still_wade (250 comments )
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