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Cingular halts sale of 3G phones in 2G regions

Chris Ziegler

Built it, and they will come -- even if they're not invited. That's the message Cingular is hearing loud and clear in some of its EDGE-only areas, where UMTS hasn't yet launched but their mediocre first round of 3G handsets were being sold nonetheless. Curious consumers in the EDGE boondocks have picked up the handsets and discovered Cingular Video, a service that Cingular has specifically designed for UMTS speeds, leading to a barrage of support calls for absurdly poor frame rates. Cingular, apparently oblivious that this might happen, has reversed their decision to launch 3G handsets ahead of the network build-out and is offering an extended return policy through June 30 for customers who've already picked one up. To our untrained eyes, watching CNN Headline News at insane compression rates on a sub-QVGA display looks about as good at 5 fps as it does at 20 fps, but kudos to Cingular for trying to do the right thing.

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