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Quick Quotes

Cingular Wireless

(including AT&T Wireless)

Sunday, October 31, 2004; Page F08

Phone: 866-246-4852; Web: www.cingular.com; Type: Digital (GSM)

SERVICE PLANS:

_____Headlines_____
When Cell Phones Go Bad
How to Make the Right Call on Service
_____Service Details_____
Cingular Wireless
Nextel
Sprint PCS
T-Mobile
Verizon Wireless
_____Direct Comparisons_____
'Real World' Costs
Fine Print
Messaging and Web Options
Reviewer's Notes
_____About This Guide_____
For explanations of what plans we list, how the coverage maps were created, and what the "real world cost" categories mean, click here.
_____Local Tech News_____
Independence Numbers Fall (The Washington Post, Dec 7, 2004)
DirecTV to Sell Half of Hughes Network Systems to SkyTerra (The Washington Post, Dec 7, 2004)
Recruiter Puts Its Money Where Its Workers Are (The Washington Post, Dec 6, 2004)
More Headlines
Tech Events Calendar

"Region"
$39.99: 600 anytime minutes, 5,000 night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.
$49.99: 800 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.
$59.99: 950 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 35 cents/minute.
No long-distance charges. No roaming charges in most of East Coast from Virginia north to New York and Massachusetts; elsewhere, add 79 cents/minute. $7 moves start of night/weekend hours to 7 p.m. from 9 p.m.

"Nation"
$29.99: 250 anytime minutes, 1,000 night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.
$39.99: 450 anytime minutes, 5,000 night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.
$39.99: 1,000 anytime minutes, then 45 cents/minute.
$49.99: 600 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.
$59.99: 850 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 35 cents/minute.
No long-distance or roaming charges. Unused anytime minutes roll over to next month on $39.99-and-up plans. All plans (except $29.99 and $39.99/1,000-minute plans) include unlimited calls to other Cingular phones. $7 moves start of night/weekend hours to 7 p.m. from 9.

"FamilyTalk"
$19.99 adds one line to any Region plan, plus $79.99 plan not listed above(1,350 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 30 cents/minute) and $39.99/450-anytime-minutes and $49.99 Nation plans listed above. $9.99 adds one line to any $59.99 and up Nation plan, plus $79.99 plan not listed above (1,250 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 30 cents/minute). $7 moves start of night/weekend hours to 7 p.m. from 9 p.m.

Messaging/Web/etc.
Text messages cost 10 cents each, $2.99 for 100 messages or $9.99 for 750. Basic Web access ("MEdia Basic") costs $7.99 (including 250 text messages, 50 multimedia messages and 1 megabyte of data use; additional use adds 1 cent/kilobyte). High-speed access ("MEdia Net"), up to 40 or 135 kbps depending on phone model, costs $2.99 for 500 kb of use or $9.99 for 2 MB; additional use adds 1 cent/kb.

Fine print
Contract not required, but only two-year plans are offered at Cingular's Web site; can change plans without penalty. 15-day trial. "Night/weekend" means 9 p.m.-7 a.m. Mon.-Fri. and 9 p.m. Fri.-7 a.m. Mon. Prepaid "KIC" service available, starting at $10 for 30 days and $15 for 90 days (10 cents/minute).

Smartphones offered
BlackBerry 7290, Nokia N-Gage QD, PalmOne Treo 600

Real-world cost estimates
1: Light use (30 minutes): $29.99

2: Moderate use (three hours): $29.99

3: Heavy use (eight hours): $39.99

4: Land-line replacement (20 hours): $59.99

5: Chatty couple (six hours, two phones): $59.98

REVIEWER'S NOTES:
Cingular's purchase of AT&T should be good for both customer bases. In areas where AT&T worked great (such as the food court in the Wheaton Mall), the Cingular phone could barely eke out a signal; in other spots, such as Clarksburg, Cingular provided a better connection. Combining the two networks would make them difficult to beat -- but first Cingular has to make its way through a mammoth merger.

-- John Breeden II


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