It doesn't get talked about much these days, but before getting snapped up by Cingular
AT&T Wireless actually introduced high-speed UMTS
wireless service in a handful of cities (Seattle, the SF Bay Area, Phoenix, and Detroit). The phones bit and the
download speeds were disappointing (especially compared with
Verizon's EV-DO service), so it wasn't
exactly a shock that Cingular ended up putting the rest of AT&T Wireless' planned rollout on ice after the merger.
Instead they decided to skip a generation and go straight to
HSDPA (which is basically a faster version of
UMTS), a move which left a number of subscribers grandfathered on a rapidly obsolescing 3G network. Anyway, it's no
secret that they're in the midst of building out their new
HSDPA network right now, and apparently they've been contacting old school UMTS subscribers to let them know that
they'll be shutting down UMTS data service until early 2006 while they upgrade the network. Subscribers will get a $50
service credit for their trouble and a free cellphone when the new network is ready.
[Thanks, Oliver O.]