Cingular Wireless says it has now deployed GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) to more than 50 percent of potential subscribers nationwide.

Since announcing that it would begin deploying its high-speed wireless data service across its nationwide network late last year, Cingular has engaged in a series of strategic initiatives to expand its reach, creatively add capacity and ready its network for third generation wireless data technology.

“Cingular is on budget and on schedule for our GSM network overlay…actually reaching over 50 percent of our covered subscribers in 2002,” Ed Reynolds, president of network operations at Cingular, said in a statement. “We have set an aggressive timetable for deploying next generation technology across our network and today’s announcement demonstrates our ability to keep that commitment.”

Cingular will continue deployment of GSM/GPRS in 2003. Ninety percent of the covered population and all major markets should be complete by the end of next year. The network overlay will be complete in all Cingular markets by mid-2004.

This year, Cingular has deployed GPRS in major markets, including New York, California, Connecticut, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, central Florida, coastal Georgia, as well as in Detroit, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia.

As it deploys GSM, Cingular has also boosted its network capacity by installing Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) speech channels. AMR translates into higher spectral efficiency, allowing the company to carry more calls per base station. As a result, network capacity is expected to double and service quality will improve.

Cingular is now also beginning to test a software upgrade for its 3G technology called EDGE. As part of its current GSM deployment, radios in GSM overlay markets are already EDGE hardware capable.

By the end of 2003, all of Cingular’s major markets will be both hardware and software enabled for 3G. DGE is expected to at least double GPRS data rates.