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One of the granddaddies of wireless data service is going to retire. AT&T Wireless Services plans to close an old network it uses to deliver data to cell phones by next year. The nation's No. 3 mobile-phone service provider, spun off from AT&T Corp. last year, will stop selling service on its Cellular Digital Packet Data network by March 31 and will shut down the network by the end of 2003.
AT&T Wireless' CDPD network delivers E-mail messages and Web pages to cell phones at 19.2 Kbps. The company wants to sell service to those customers over its faster General Packet Radio Service network, which transmits wireless data at 40-to 60-Kbps speeds.
Cellular Digital Packet Data was one of the earliest technologies used by wireless carriers to transmit data to cell phones; AT&T Wireless has used CDPD for eight years. The carrier sells GPRS service in subscriptions priced at $4 to $13 per month.