Cingular is a Wireless Telephone Operator in the United States formed primarily from BellSouth Mobility with partnetship from SBC Communications. Brands that Cingular encompasses include BellSouth Mobility and BellSouth DCS, CellularOne, Southwestern Bell Wireless, Pacific Bell Wireless, Nevada Bell Wireless, Ameritech Cellular and SBC Wireless.

It was formed in Late 1999 to increase revenues and market share of the failing BellSouth Wireless Mobility and SBC Wireless Divisions.

Cingular bears more resemblance to BellSouth then SBC, and offers the same services for similar prices under the Cingular name including digital and analogue voice service and mobile data services such as SMS, Mobitex, and CDPD.

The Cingular digital voice infrastructure operates on the CDMA standard also used by Sprint PCS and others, and its analogue service is serviced by the standard DAMPS network that has been in existence for the last decade.

Phone-based data access is service by the "My Wireless Window" service for SMS messaging and the "Wireless Internet Express" service for WAP data browsing.

As for rates, circa late 2001, Cingular has some of the highest per-minute rate plans in the market, surpassed only by Nextel and some Sprint plans. Still, Cingular is the only available carrier in many area.

"Cingular" isn't one of those completely made-up words used for company names. It's actually an adjective meaning:
  1. Having to do with a cingulum, an anatomical band or girdle on an animal or plant.
  2. Encircling, girdling, surrounding.
and derived from the Latin noun cingulum (girdle), from the verb cingere (to gird). Such words as cincture, precinct, shingles, and succinct come from the same root.

"Differs ... in the greater degree of cingular development on cheek teeth, especially molars."
Daniel L. Gebo, et al; "A Hominoid Genus"; Science (Washington, DC); April 18, 1997.

So presumably the wireless operator chose the name to imply that their service encircled a large area. However, since the word is so obscure and it is pronounced the same as "singular," their meaning is pretty much lost on everyone. (A.Word.A.Day is the only reason I ever heard of the original meaning.)


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