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Toodaloo TDMA

6:00 PM -- The 2.5 million or so people still using Cingular Wireless mobile phones that operate over TDMA networks -- for instance those still clinging to their Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) 8260s -- might want to go phone shopping.

Cingular will shut down its TDMA network, along with its legacy analogy network, by 2008, CEO Stan Sigman announced at TelecomNext this week.

It's hard to believe that spectrum-hogging TDMA, established as a cellular standard in 1989, was once state of the art. Now about 95 percent of Cingular's voice traffic runs over GSM, according to spokesman Ritch Blasi, and the shift away from TDMA has accelerated since Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless in 2004.

Mobile Gadget News editor Sean Murphy believes that shutting down its legacy networks will allow Cingular/AT&T to offer widespread 3G data rollouts plus better GSM performance, and that technicians maintaining the old TDMA network will be shifted to next-generation technologies. Or not.

"Or they will be sacked," comments MGN reader "stiletto," "and Cingular will lower their operating costs and increase profits."

- Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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