Cingular Lags Rivals In Wireless Data Speed

According to a report by Reuters, Cingular, which will surpass Verizon Wireless as the biggest U.S. carrier when it buys AT&T Wireless Services Inc. this year, said it is unlikely to offer a high-speed wireless data service until as late as 2006 and 2007.

That could be as much as two years behind Verizon, which already offers a high-speed service in two markets. If Sprint uses the same technology — known as EV-DO — as Verizon it could also have a service next year.

Cingular, which faces the task of welding its network to that of AT&T Wireless, is also waiting for equipment suitable for the airwaves it plans to use for its high-speed data. Cingular is using a technology popular in Europe known as UMTS rather than EV-DO, first used in Korea.