BOCA RATON, Fla. and ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, is investing more than $360 million this year in its Florida network, bringing customers even more wireless services, expanded coverage, and broadband data speeds between 400 and 700 kilobits per second.
The 2006 investment includes the final steps in the integration of the AT&T Wireless and Cingular networks, which involves choosing the best cell sites from both networks, eliminating duplicate equipment, and combining technologies onto a common network platform. In 2004, the new Cingular opened up the network so that customers with Mobile-to-Mobile could call AT&T Wireless and Cingluar customers for free. However, the company has been running separate networks in Florida while preparing both systems for the integration.
Network integration in Central, West and North Florida will be completed by end of First Quarter; in South Florida it will be completed by end of summer. That means statewide, customers will have access to nearly 40 percent more cell sites, resulting in fewer dropped calls, improved call quality, new coverage where none existed before, and better in-building, in-car and pedestrian coverage.
The investment also includes the addition of portable and permanent generators, and the deployment of a 3G high-speed broadband wireless network that will allow customers to access information and applications at broadband speeds in the office, on the road or at home. The service - via laptop data cards or 3G-compatible phones -- provides average mobile data connections between 400-700Kbps (kilobits per second) on the downlink and bursts to more than a megabit per second.
"Our ongoing focus is ensuring Cingular customers have the best wireless experience possible - which includes unmatched coverage and quality of service," said Rich Guidotti, vice president and general manager for Cingular's South Florida market, which covers Vero Beach to Key West.
"This network investment will enable us to continue to bring residents of Florida the highest quality service available - service that is enhanced by best-in-industry calling plan value and cutting-edge devices," said Dan Norman, vice president and general manager for Cingular's North Florida market, which covers southwest Florida across the state north to Panama City and just over the Georgia line.
Network enhancements planned for 2006 in Florida include expanded coverage in:
- Orlando Market:
-- In the town of Celebration in Osceola County;
-- On the campus of the University of Central Florida in Orange
-- In Research Park in Orange County;
-- In downtown Kissimmee and the northern portion of Lake Tohopekaliga
in Osceola County;
-- In Poinciana Place residential developments in Osceola County;
-- In southeastern Lake County;
-- In the developments of Heathrow Woods, Alaqua Lakes, Magnolia
Plantation and other residential areas in western Lake Mary in
-- In the residential developments in the Union Park area in Orange
-- In central St. Cloud and along U.S. Highway 441 in Osceola County;
-- In the residential developments in the Union Park and Azalea Park
area and along U.S. Highway 50 and State Highway 417 in Orange
-- In the Tuskawilla development in central Seminole County.
- Tallahassee Market:
-- In the Graceville, Bonifay and Chipley areas in Jackson County;
-- Along the highways between Clarksville and Blountstown in Calhoun
-- In the town of Steinhatchee in Taylor County;
-- Along State Highways 153, 53 and County Road 150 in Madison County;
-- In Apalachicola, St. Vincent and St. George Islands and between
Eastpoint and Port St. Joe in Franklin County.
- Tampa Market:
-- In Tarpon Springs in Pinellas County;
-- In the western portion of Holiday in Pasco County;
-- In the southern portion of Plant City in western Hillsborough
-- To the residential areas surrounding Memorial Highway, Countryway
Boulevard, and West Hillsborough Avenue in Hillsborough County;
-- To MacDill Air Force Base in Hillsborough County; and
-- In Beverly Hills and between the towns of Lecanto, Hernando and
Crystal River in central Citrus County.
- Jacksonville Market:
-- In the Hammock Beach resort area and in the northeastern area of
Palm Coast in Flagler County;
-- In the residential area of Orange Park in Duval County; and
-- In the town of Live Oak in Suwannee County.
- Daytona Beach Market:
-- West of the town of Samsula in Volusia County;
-- Along Highway 46, between Geneva and Mims in Seminole County; and
-- In the Port Orange residential areas along U.S. 1, South Nova Road,
and Spruce Creek Road in Volusia County.
- Melbourne Market:
-- To Patrick Air Force Base and the beaches between Cocoa Beach and
Satellite Beach in Brevard County;
-- Along A1A and in the residential areas in southern Indiatlantic and
northern Melbourne Beach in Brevard County; and
-- In the residential developments of southern Palm Bay in Brevard
- Fort Myers/Naples Market:
-- Along I-75 east of Naples and to surrounding residential
developments in the Golden Gate area in Collier County;
-- Along Highway 951 between Naples and Marco Island and to the
surrounding resort and residential areas in Collier County; and
-- In Lee County along Immokalee Road and the Gateway residential
- Ocala/Panama City/Lakeland Markets:
-- In the town of Silver Springs Shores in Marion County;
-- Along Old Highway 301, N.E. 97th Street, Highway 301 and
surrounding residential developments in central Marion County;
-- In northern Bay County, along U.S. Highway 231, State Highway 20
and between State Highway 388 and County Road 2301 in Panama City;
-- In southern and western Poinciana and along Cypress Parkway between
Poinciana and Haines City in Polk County; and
-- In South Venice and Manasota in Sarasota County.
- Treasure Coast Market:
-- In Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee counties, where
the network integration will result in approximately twice as many
- Fort Lauderdale/Miami Market:
-- In southern and western Miramar in Broward County; and
-- In southwest Pembroke Pines;
-- Along the Florida Turnpike in southern Miami and into Florida City;
-- To the Homestead Hospital and the new residential developments east
of the Turnpike in that area;
-- Along Le Jeune Road and Gratigny Parkway;
-- In the industrial/commercial area to the south of Opa Locka
-- Along Flamingo Road; and
-- To the eastern end of Key West at the airport and the residential,
business and resorts in the area.Cingular invested more than $315 million in Florida on network improvements in 2005. Nationwide, the company spent $6.5 billion on its network and plans to do the same in 2006, bringing its overall investment since the company's 2004 acquisition of AT&T Wireless to more than $13 billion.
Cingular diligently monitors the quality and coverage of its network. In addition to third-party vendors who assess the company's network performance, Cingular network engineers constantly monitor the network, driving more than 1 million miles annually throughout Florida. Cingular also uses third party drive-testing vendors to assess the company's network performance and wireless coverage.