Cingular is moving ahead with plans to implement a high-speed, multi-media capable network, now that its acquisition of AT&T Wireless is complete.

The so-called third generation, or 3G, network infrastructure will be put in place over the next year, Cingular said on Tuesday. Most major markets should be covered by 2006, the company said.

Verizon and Sprint are already rolling out their own versions of 3G, using a different technology standard. When Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless, it also gained control of that company’s fledgling 3G network in several cities. Cingular has also conducted high-speed network trials in Atlanta.

Cingular said its network would be the “nation’s fastest high-speed mobile wireless data network” and use international standards, permitting speeds of 400-700 kilobits per second with bursting capability of up to several megabits.

3G networks are geared for video and audio streaming as well as high-speed Internet access and digital voice traffic. Cingular said the network would be suitable for gaming. Users will also be able to talk over mobile devices while at the same time utilizing data services.

Cingular chose UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) standards.
The Atlanta-based firm will use technology and hardware from Ericsson, Lucent and Siemens, leaving out Nortel. AT&T Wireless had used Nortel gear for its UMTS rollout.

Nokia, LG and Motorola are providing handsets.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in our commitment to speed the deployment of third-generation wireless services across the nation,” said Kris Rinne, chief technical officer of Cingular, in a statement. “The selection of these vendors will bring tremendous intellectual capital to the team as we work to achieve our common goal to bring the next generation of mobile multimedia services to consumers and businesses.”